A group in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, is calling on the federal government to keep the wreck of the Maud, a ship that once belonged to Arctic explorer Roald Amundsen, in Canadian waters.
The Keep the Baymaud Committee has started a petition in its bid to prevent Norwegians from taking the shipwreck out of Cambridge Bay and moving it to Norway, Amundsen's home country.
The Maud, also known as the Baymaud, has been sitting partially submerged in the shallow waters near the western Nunavut community for the past eight decades.
Maud Returns Home, a Norwegian group, says it wants to salvage the wreck and move it back to the town in Norway where Amundsen had the ship built a century ago.
Deny export permit requests: group
The Keep the Baymaud Committee has started an online petition that calls on the Canadian government to deny all requests for export permits related to the shipwreck.
"While we don't deny the importance of the Maud to Norway, one also cannot deny the fact that she is a Canadian archaeological site that has been there since 1930 and should not be removed," the petition states in part.
Vicki Aitaok, a spokesperson for the Keep the Baymaud Committee, says a paper version of the petition can be signed at the Arctic Closet store in Cambridge Bay during business hours.
Amundsen, who in the early 1900s led the first successful sailing expedition through the Northwest Passage, had sailed the Maud to the Arctic in the hopes of reaching the North Pole.
Was a floating trading post
Amundsen's attempts were unsuccessful and the Maud was seized and eventually sold to the Hudson's Bay Company. Renamed the Baymaud, the ship was used as a floating trading post before it sank around 1930.
Members of Maud Returns Home have said they want to build a museum around the shipwreck, in part to preserve it from the elements.
While the Maud is in Cambridge Bay, it is owned by people in the Norwegian community of Asker, which had purchased the wreck from the Hudson's Bay Company for $1 in 1990.
But any group that tries to remove the Maud from Canada would first have to apply for a cultural export permit from the federal government.
Meanwhile, Aitaok has said people in Cambridge Bay have been trying for years to have the Maud declared as a Canadian historic site.