The Canadian Government has dispatched two icebreakers on a scientific survey to accumulate data required for Canada's Arctic continental shelf submission.
The move forms part of the country's efforts to stake a claim on the North Pole, which is a potentially mineral-rich area.
The vessels, CCGS Terry Fox and the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, departed from St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador to analyse a portion of the Eurasian Basin on the eastern Lomonosov Ridge, as well as some areas in the vicinity of the North Pole, if conditions permit.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in a statement: "As demonstrated by these planned surveys, our government is committing the resources necessary to ensure that Canada secures international recognition of the full extent of its continental shelf, including the North Pole."
While the coast guard vessel Terry Fox breaks ice, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent will gather data such as the shape and composition of the seabed.
Earlier this year, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent was equipped with multi-beam sonar technology in order to ensure that it has the capacity to carry out the mission.
The scientific work is being managed by the Geological Survey of Canada and the Canadian Hydrographic Service.
A second survey is planned to be conducted in 2015 to accumulate additional data.
In December 2013, Canada filed a United Nations application concerning the outer limits of its continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean as part of plans to claim the North Pole.
Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council Leona Aglukkaq said: "Our government is securing our sovereignty while expanding our economic and scientific opportunities by defining Canada's last frontier."
Image: The CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent in Halifax Harbour. Photo: courtesy of Verne Equinox.