Roald Amundsen’s polar ship, Maud, returns to Asker after over 100 years

Roald Amundsen polar ship "Maud"Roald Amundsen polar ship "Maud".Photo: Jan Wanggaard / NTB scanpix

A century after Polar explorer, Roald Amundsen, sailed out of the capital in his new ship,Maud, his ship arrived in Asker, where it was built, last Saturday.


“For the ice you are built, and in the ice you will spend your best time and there you will achieve your task. With our queen’s permission, I baptise you Maud.”

That’s how Roald Amundsen’s words sounded when he broke an ice-lump against the hull of his brand new polar ship and baptised Maud, named after Norway’s then queen.

On Saturday, the old polar ship will be slipped in across the Oslo Fjord and will eventually return to Vollen in Asker, the place it was built in 1917.

The project “Maud Returns Home” has been behind the raising and shipping of Amundsen’s polar ships, which had been lying halfway underwater for almost 90 years on a beach in northern Canada.

“The whole ship is very tarnished by time, but for being a 100 year old boat that has been on the bottom of the ocean for 90 years, it’s in good condition’’ said project manager,Jan Wanggaard to Bergens Tidende newspaper when the ship was dropped into Byfjorden in Bergen earlier this August.

The North Pole

On his famous southern polar voyage in 1910-1912, Amundsen borrowed Fridtjof Nansen’s ship, Fram. However, in advance of his next expedition, Amundsen built his own polar ship,Maud, which was built by boat builder Christian Jensen in Vollen in Asker.

Amundsen sailed out of Christiania in 1918 with a goal of driving through the ice above the North Pole. But after several years stuck in the ice, they sailed through the Northeast Pass,the sea north of Russia between Europe and the east coast of Asia.

The expedition was delayed for several years for various reasons, and Amundsen eventually sold the ship to Hudson’s Bay Company. Maud was eventually lost in 1931 in Cambridge Bay in the Northwest Passage, north of Canada. There the ship has been lying as a wreck at a beach edge for almost 90 years and had become an attraction for divers.

Although Roald Amundsen had great success as a polar explorer, the Maud expedition is often regarded as one of his less successful projects. Amundsen never reached his goal of guiding the ship through the ice over the North Pole, a goal he otherwise reached a few years later as he flew over the pole with the airship Norge in 1926.

The way home

In 1990, the wreck was purchased by Asker Municipality for one dollar, and the project “Maud Returns Home” started in 2011 with the aim of getting the polar ship home to Asker. By 2016,the wreck was raised and has been in Greenland since last year. June the 23rd this year, the ship was dropped from the west coast of Greenland and reached Norwegian waters on Sunday the 5th of August.

Maud went along the Norwegian coast last week before appearing on Saturday August the 18th,finally arriving at Vollen in Asker, where it all started over 100 years ago. The Polar ship will arrive at Vollen at 13.00 in the same bay where Maud was launched 101 years ago, and there is going to be a big crowd when the ship finally returns home.

“It has been a long journey both for Maud and for us. The project has faced major challenges,so this return feels very good. We have finally reached the end of the journey and we are looking forward to finally getting her home,” said Jan Wanggaard, project manager, to NTB news.

Following the plan, a museum will be built at Vollen for the returning ship, which will first take a round in the inner Oslofjord.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today