RMS Empress of Ireland

Tragic sinking in 1914, resulting in the loss of not only a grand ocean liner, but the deaths of 1,012 people. It is the worst peacetime Canadian maritime disaster.
by Matthew Anderson


Year Built

1906

Year Sank

1914

Depth

130 ft (39.6 m)

Difficulty Level

Advanced


RMS Empress of Ireland

Wreck Location

The Empress of Ireland lies 8.3 km off Pointe-au-Pére, Quebec 130 feet (40 m) below the surface in the St. Lawrence Seaway. Nearby to the wreck is the town of Rimouski. The site of the wreck is marked by a large buoy. Divers be aware the St. Lawrence is a busy sea lane connecting the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. The temperature of the St. Lawrence is very cold meaning a risk of hypothermia. This combined with a strong current makes it a difficult diving site. At least nine divers have lost their lives on the Empress of Ireland since the first dives in 1914.

~ GPS Shipwreck Location ~
Latitude:   48° 37' 30" N      Longitude:   -68° 24' 29.9988" W

Description

The wreck of the Empress of Ireland is very large. However, years of strong currents, salvaging and deterioration have taken their toll. The twin funnels have long since rusted away, as has the ship's superstructure. The wreck is covered in marine life and many of the passages and decks of the vessel beg for exploration. Explore the interior with caution as it's easy to get stuck and diving the Empress is only safe for an hour at maximum. Also be respectful and gentle. The wreck is a grave site still littered with human bones. Taking remains or artifacts is punishable by law and highly illegal as the Empress is a protected heritage site. Notable explorers of the wreck include Dr. Robert Ballard, famous for discovering the wreck of the RMS Titanic.

Footnotes

Empress of Ireland

The Empress of Ireland was built in 1906 by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering in Govan, Scotland for the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. She was a transatlantic liner, sailing between Montreal, Quebec and Liverpool, England via Quebec City. Like many other transatlantic liners, the Empress of Ireland boasted grand scale passenger luxuries. She had accommodations for over 1,500 First, Second and Third class passengers. Her sister ship was the the Empress of Britain. On May 28, 1914 the Empress of Ireland set sail from Quebec City already outbound from Montreal on a routine voyage to Liverpool. She was under the command of Captain Henry Kendall. In the early morning hours of the 29th, the Empress of Ireland was steaming of



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Legend of the Lake - New Discovery Edition Book

The recent discovery of the wreck of the British warship Ontario, “the Holy Grail” of Great Lakes shipwrecks, solves several mysteries that have puzzled historians since the ship sank more than two centuries ago. Now, for the first time, the whole tragic story of the Ontario can finally be told.

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