The Canadian military is getting up close with a big piece of history.

Divers are sending remote operating vehicles under the sea ice to explore the Breadalbane, which is the most northerly known ship wreck.

The exercise is part of the military’s annual Operation Nunalivut which is underway near Resolute, Nunavut.

"It's the very first time we've been able put a remote operating vehicle, an ROV, through the ice, especially with the thickness that we have of 2.2 metres and 1.2 metres in some spots. But for us to cut a hole in the ice and put an ROV through - we've never done that before. And we thought, while we're up here trying, if we were successful, we might as well do something useful for other departments," said Chief Petty Officer Cameron Jones.

The ship is now a National Historic Site.


A still from the video the Canadian military shot of the sunken Breadalbane. This is the second time the ship has been seen since it sunk in 1853. (Department of National Defense)

This is only the second time anyone has set eyes on the ship since it sank in 1853.

The Breadalbane set sail for the Arctic from England on a search for Franklin's lost expedition but sank off Beechey Island after being struck by sea ice.

The entire crew escaped without injury.

The cold Arctic waters have kept the ship in incredible condition for 159 years.