The strait is a possible route for the Northwest Passage. The Parry Channel leads 600 miles west from Baffin Bay to the strait or McClure Strait to the northwest. Robert McClure reached it from the west in 1850 and was frozen in. A sledge party showed that it was probably connected to Parry Channel. Richard Collinson again entered it in 1851. Henry Larsen made the first passage in 1944 after failing to pass McClure Strait. In 1969, the oil tanker SS Manhattan was forced to use it after ice had blocked McClure Strait. As the strait narrows to less than 24 miles, vessels using it pass within undisputed Canadian waters.
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