Along with promising to finish the battle against COVID-19 — and ensure a resilient economic recovery that generates employment and prosperity for Canadians — the Canadian Government’s new budget has proposed $15 million over three years to accelerate geological and restoration work for the wrecks of the legendary and ill-fated HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.
HMS Erebus and HMS Terror are significant historical figures in both Canada and the United Kingdom. While several rumours abound of what happened to those who sailed on these ships, the truth remains unknown. The ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror set out from the United Kingdom in search of a Northwest Passage through what is now Canada’s Arctic. Inuit last saw the ships and crew on King William Island, and they were never found. Their apparent disappearance sparked a major search that lasted nearly 170 years without success.
In September 2014, a Parks Canada-led expedition discovered the wreck of the HMS Erebus in a region previously known by Inuit. The wreck of the HMS Terror was discovered two years later. These discoveries were made possible thanks to historical studies, Inuit expertise, and the help of many collaborators.
Inuit and Parks Canada are now collaborating to manage this fascinating National Historic Site jointly. The Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site is still closed to the public. Individuals who enter the protected area of Erebus and Terror face a fine of up to $100,000. A corporation’s offence is punishable by a fine of up to $500,000.
The Erebus and Terror, according to the Canadian Budget, bear clues that can help us solve one of the world’s greatest maritime mysteries of the world’s best-preserved wooden wrecks. Climate change is hastening the HMS Erebus’ demise by decreasing ice cover and rising sea swells. The government hopes to protect and conserve these historical treasures with the $15 million grant.