Empress Of Ireland – The Forgotten Titanic

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The worst peacetime marine disaster in Canadian history was the Empress of Ireland with the largest loss of life in Canada. Empress was on a journey to Liverpool, England with 10 hours under her belt, collided with the SS Storstad and sank in 14 minutes.

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Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering at Govan on the Clyde in Scotland designed the Empress of Ireland and her sister ship, Empress of Britain. The liners were commissioned for the North Atlantic route between Liverpool, England and Quebec City, Canada by Canadian Pacific Steamships (at that time part of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) conglomerate). She was launched in January 1906., and her maiden voyage was June 1906. The Empress had four decks made of steel with the capacity to carry 1,542 people.

RMS Empress of Ireland was an ocean liner that sank near the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River in the early hours of May 29, 1914, following a thick fog collision with the Norwegian collier SS Storstad. While the ship was fitted with watertight compartments and was holding more than enough lifeboats for everyone aboard, (in the aftermath of the Titanic tragedy two years before), she sunk in just 14 minutes. Of the 1,477 people on board, 1,012 died, making this the worst marine disaster in Canadian history in peacetime.

Empress
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The wreck is located in 40 metres (130 ft) of water, making it an advanced dive. Some objects have been recovered from the ruins, some of which are on display in the Empress of Ireland Pavilion at the Site historique maritime de la Pointe-au-Père in Rimouski, Quebec and at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, Nova Scotia. The Government of Canada has passed legislation to secure the site.

The Empress of Ireland – The Forgotten Titanic

Co-written by Kevin SEMPE & Chrisitan PETRON

Based on a true story.

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Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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