Norwegians prepare to bring famed Arctic ship home

Complex preparations are underway to salvage the Maud shipwreck near Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, in the summer of 2013.

Group to use balloons and a barge to lift ship out of water

The Norwegian team will attach balloons to this barge to lift the Maud ship out of the shallow waters near Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, where the ship has sat for decades. (Photo courtesy of Jan Wanggard)

Preparations are underway for a complex operation to salvage the Maud shipwreck near Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, in the summer of 2013.

Jan Wanggard is the head of the group Maud Returns Home, which was awarded an export permit in March to repatriate the historic shipwreck.

The ship has been sitting partially submerged in shallow waters off Cambridge Bay since it sank in 1930.

"It will be a submersible barge so we can actually sink it under the water and lift it again," said Wanggard.

Wanggard said they will bring a barge from Norway to the site. They plan to attach air balloons to the barge to lift it out. Wanggard said that will allow them to put the ship on the barge and then tow it back to Norway.

They expect the transfer to take a couple of weeks.

Once they start, the group will only have 90 days to move the ship out of the country or their permit will expire.

Many people are concerned the Maud will break during the extraction or transport, but Wanggard said things should go smoothly.

Jan Wanggard has been spearheading the project to bring the Maud ship back to Norway. (Photo courtesy of Jan Wanggard)

"We are very optimistic about the structural strength of the Maud as it is because it has not been broken down by rot or any kind of microorganisms," he said.

Wanggard said his group estimates they will spend between $1 million to $3.5 million on the export project.

The group hopes to display the wreck in a museum back in Norway.