The Arctic research vessel Martin Bergmann temporarily ran aground early Wednesday morning in the Northwest Passage

The 19-metre vessel hit a sandy shoal in the Simpson Strait while travelling at low speed. It was dislodged within minutes.

No damage or injuries were reported and the ship did not take on water.

"Only five to seven per cent of the Arctic is charted," said Adrian Schminowski, operations manager with the Arctic Research Foundation, which owns the Martin Bergmann.

"That leaves a big hole in the Arctic of uncharted waters. Where we are operating, most of that area is uncharted."

The Martin Bergmann was travelling with the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Wilfrid Laurier.

It is part of an ongoing underwater archeological search for the lost Franklin Expedition ships, the Erebus and the Terror.

While the research crew is focussing on its hunt for artifacts, information they gather will guide future charting of the seafloor. 

In September 2010, a fuel tanker, the MV Nanny, also ran aground on a sandbar in the Simpson Strait. It was stuck for two weeks before enough of its diesel fuel cargo was pumped off to allow it to float off the sandbar. 

Clarifications

  • The Martin Bergmann research vessel's focus is on finding Franklin's ships, not charting the seafloor. Information gathered from the expedition may be used to guide future charting initiatives.
    Sep 05, 2014 8:00 AM CT