Last month, this blog reported that Canadian researchers had discovered a shipwreck in the Arctic dating back to an 1845 expedition by British explorer Sir John Franklin. At the time, scientists were unsure which of the two missing vessels they had located. Now, the prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, has reported that the ship's identity is confirmed: It is the HMS Erebus, which Franklin sailed on himself.

A press release from Harper's official site notes that the Erebus was, along with its companion ship, the HMS Terror, responsible for a crew of nearly 130 men. Both ships had been missing for more than 160 years after traveling between Greenland and the Northeastern regions of Canada. Parks Canada made the confirmation, although the recovery expedition was the combined effort of several groups, including the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Space Agency.

The statement quoted PM Harper on the importance of this discovery and the work that went into it.

"The locating and identifying of this ship goes a long way to solving one of Canada's greatest historical mysteries," he said. "I would like to congratulate and pay tribute to all those involved in locating and identifying HMS Erebus." He also wished the expedition well in searching for the Terror.

When the Erebus wreck was first discovered, images taken from sonar footage of it circulated through the media. Now, scientists and authorities will continue to investigate. It is believed that the crew may have died after the ships were wrecked in their search for the Northwest Passage.

Discoveries are just the beginning, and usually require observation and analysis to confirm facts. Commercial diving insurance is a critical part of these ongoing efforts.

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