Name of barge used in Franklin expedition research will be decided by a Facebook contest

Organizers of the Franklin research expedition are looking to Nunavummiut for a name for their new barge.

Suggestions are being collected until March 12. People can offer names by posting them beneath a call for suggestions on the Government of Nunavut's Facebook page.

Entries should be in Inuktitut or Inuinnaqtun because the project is based in the Kitikmeot Region and associated with Gjoa Haven and Cambridge Bay, according to the project manager for the historic site, Bronwyn Pavey.

"I'm so pleased because they're so thoughtful, some of them are funny and some of them are very meaningful," she said.

To date there have been more than 200 entries.  

"The barge really looks like a sea pan so there's been a lot of names around siku which is ice. A lot of names using siku or ice pack or ice flow, those are all really great."

Submissions that fall into that category include "puktak, meaning ice flow", and "nattinnaq, meaning big pan iceberg".

The barge will hold a hyperbaric chamber, which will be used by the Parks Canada underwater archeology team, and several sea cans that will hold the equipment the team will need to execute their dives.

The barge is being built in the St. Lawrence Seaway now and is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

It will come up on the sealift in the summer. It will be moved to sit above the wreck of the HMS Erebus.

Translated Boaty McBoatface not to be

Since it's brand new the barge will need a name to be registered, which is why the Franklin advisory committee decided to reach out to the public for help.

Inspired by a similar public call from the U.K.'s Natural Environment Research Council, some Nunavummiut responded with a translated version of the popular pick from that competition: Boaty McBoatface.

However, it's unlikely Umiaqii Miq umiaqvis, which is translated in the Baffin dialect, will be the name of the barge.

"I doubt that that will be the winner, we have to keep the name fairly short, if it is an Inuktitut name, it will likely be put on the boat in syllabics so we'll try and keep it a little bit short," Pavey said.

Another reason it probably won't make the cut is that it has a few levels of approval to go through. The government is choosing a representative shortlist, which will be sent to the underwater archeology team to make a final decision and register it.

A name should be chosen around the 15th of the month and the winner will receive a swag bag with clothing and other branded merchandise from the Government of Nunavut and Parks Canada.