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The Globe and Mail

150-year-old naval vessel found underwater in Arctic

Remains of HMS Investigator are covered in grey film and sitting 11 metres underwater.

Covered in a grey film and sitting 11 metres underwater, the HMS Investigator looks every bit its age.

New pictures of the British navy vessel, which sank on a rescue mission more than 150 years ago, are ghostly visual aids to the recent discovery of the boat in its sea bed 600 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.

Archeologists working for Parks Canada found the vessel on July 25 in Mercy Bay's Aulavik National Park, about two-thirds of the way through their own Arctic expedition.

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After sharing their footage and reporting on their find, some team members will continue the mission this month to locate the two ships that the Investigator was trying to rescue: HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.

The Investigator became stuck in ice while journeying through Arctic waters in 1850. Crews remained with the 122-ton ship for more than two years before they abandoned it.

Parks Canada had been plotting the discovery of the three ships for more than a year, trying to figure out how to get the crews so far north.

Once they arrived and got their bearings, the task seemed easier than originally thought. It took little more than 15 minutes to uncover the Investigator, officials told The Globe and Mail last week.

"For a long time the area wasn't open, but now it is because of climate change," said Marc-André Bernier, chief of the Underwater Archaeology Service at Parks Canada.

The discovery of the Investigator suggests the other two ships should be found with little difficulty, he added.

The nine-member Parks Canada team began their trip to Mercy's Bay on July 22. Crews will go in search of Erebus and Terror on Aug. 10.

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