Canada's prime minister says the shipwreck uncovered last month in the Artic was the HMS Erebus which vanished 170 years ago.

Explorers believed the wreck belonged to either the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror both of which sailed under the command of British Rear Adm. Sir John Franklin on an unsuccessful search for the Northwest Passage

The well-preserved wreck of one of the vessels was found last month 11 meters (12 yards) below the surface, near King William Island.

Stephen Harper said experts have identified the wreck as the HMS Erebrus, which Franklin was believed to have been aboard.

Last seen in the 1840s, the two ships have long been among the most sought-after prizes in marine archaeology and the subject of songs, poems and novels.