A Norwegian group has been cleared to salvage Roald Amundsen’s sunken ship and take it back to Norway.
The wreck of the Maud has been sitting in shallow water near Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, for about 82 years.
Last year, the federal government denied the Norwegian group Maud Returns Home an export permit to bring the ship back to Norway. But the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board reversed that decision on Friday.
In a letter to the Norwegian ambassador, the board said it believed the Maud is of outstanding significance to Canada, but its loss would not significantly diminish the national heritage. The board also said it was sensitive to both sides of the issue. When the group is ready to move the Maud back to Norway, it will be given the export permit, the board said.
Amundsen made his name as a polar explorer in 1903, when he led a fishing boat through the Northwest Passage. He then led the first expedition to reach the South Pole in 1911. He continued with other polar adventures until 1928, when his plane crashed into the Arctic Ocean. The Maud was used in two attempts to cross the North Pole. Eventually, the ship was sold to the Hudson's Bay Company and sank in 1930 near Cambridge Bay, where part of it is visible above the water.
On Thursday, Jan Wanggaard, the project leader for the Norwegian group, argued the case for a permit before the Export Review Board on Thursday, which is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage.
He said the Maud will likely be moved next year.
The Norwegian group owns the title to the ship and has technical plans to lift it from the seabed and move it to Norway. It also has the needed money the support of Norway’s monarchy.