Canadians may see a chance to buy back Amundsen’s Maud

But first a review board must uphold export permit refusal

By JANE GEORGE


Will the Maud — or Baymaud — stay in Nunavut? That depends on the decision of the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board. If it decides the ship is “off outstanding significance and national importance,” Canadians will have a chance to buy the ship once sailed by Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen…or let it return to Norway. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

The wreck of the Maud — also known as the Baymaud, which lies half-submerged in the waters near Cambridge Bay, may yet spend out its days in Nunavut.

Its future now hangs on the decision of the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board.

And it will depend on the desire of some Canadian group to buy the Maud if the review board upholds the recent decision to refuse an export license for the ship, Canadian Heritage said Dec. 16.

The Canadian Border Services Agency turned down a request for a federal export permit for the Maud, once sailed by Norway’s Roald Amundsen, the first European adventurer to travel the Northwest Passage in 1906 and the first person to reach the South Pole in December 1911.

Amundsen sailed the Maud on an unsuccessful attempt to sail through the Northeast Passage, before it sank off Cambridge Bay 80 years ago.

The group of Norwegian investors, who now own the Maud, say they want to tow it from Nunavut back to Norway — a 7,000-kilometre journey — so they can exhibit the ship at a museum near Oslo.

After learning that the Canada Border Services Agency had turned down their request for an export permit, the group behind the “Maud Returns Home” project filed an appeal.

Canadian Heritage spokesperson Pierre Manoni said an expert examiner recommended the Canada Border Services Agency refuse their cultural property export application for the Baymaud — as it’s usually called in Canada.

Applications for permanent export are sent always sent to an expert examiner — an institution designated by the Minister of Canadian Heritage, “which has the appropriate expertise in the subject matter,” Manoni said.

“Based on the expert examiner’s recommendation, CBSA has refused the permit,” he said.

Expert examiners base their recommendations on whether something is of “outstanding significance and national importance to Canada,” as set out in Section 11 of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, he said.

Now, the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board board will review the expert’s recommendation.

It could direct the permit officer to issue a permit to the Norwegians “without further delay,” Manoni said.

However, if the board agrees with the expert examiner that the ship is of “outstanding significance and national importance,” it may set an export delay period, from two to six months long.

During that period, Canadian institutions and public authorities could buy the Baymaud from its Norwegian owners, with the possible assistance of a “Movable Cultural Property Grant” from Canadian Heritage.

If no offers to purchase the ship are made by the end of the delay period, the Norwegians will be issued a permit on demand.

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