An image of the wreck of the HMS Investigator

The discovery of the HMS Investigator wreck in Mercy Bay, NT, earlier this week is of “utmost importance,” said Parks Canada’s chief of underwater archeology service.

“This is the first ship that sailed the last leg of the north-west passage,” said Marc-Andre Bernier at an Ottawa press conference Wednesday. “The ship confirmed the existence of the north-west passage.”

More than 150 years after the HMS Investigator sank, a Parks Canada crew arrived in Aulavik National Park to locate the ship and to investigate the remains of a cache site late last week.

Logistically, the mission was difficult, said Bernier. “This is a very remote site,” he said.

“Mercy Bay is more often than not covered with ice.”

Last Sunday, the team took advantage of an opening in the ice, which happened to be where the ship was located 33 feet under the surface.

Working from a small inflatable boat, the team used a sonar to get an image of the wreck, which showed the wreck in “fairly good condition,” said Bernier.

The ship is standing in an upright position, with the bottom of the ship embedded in silt and sediment to the upper deck in most areas.

The upper rigging has been damaged and timber has been scattered on the upper deck, he said. 

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