29.05.

1914: Over 1,000 People Killed during Ship Collision in Canada

1914: Over 1,000 People Killed during Ship Collision in Canada
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 29 May 1914
  • The Norwegian collier “SS Storstad” collided with the ocean liner “RMS Empress of Ireland“, tearing a hole in its hull. The „Empress of Ireland“ sank in 14 minutes, killing more than 1,000 passengers.

It was the worst maritime disaster in Canadian history (during peacetime). The Norwegian collier didn’t sink, unlike the “Empress of Ireland“. There were more than 1,000 victims.

The “SS Storstad” (gross tonnage: 6,028 tons) was 134 meters long, while the “Empress of Ireland“ (gross tonnage: 14,191 tons) was 170 meters long.

The “Empress of Ireland“ had 1,057 passengers and 420 crew members at the time.

The collision took place in the early morning hours, less than 10 kilometers from the Canadian coast.  It was still dark, and there was a lot of fog.

It has remained unclear which ship was responsible for the accident. Allegedly, both ships used foghorns.

The Norwegian collier “SS Storstad” collided with the ocean liner “RMS Empress of Ireland“, tearing a hole in its hull. The „Empress of Ireland“ sank in 14 minutes.

Similar to “Titanic”, the underwater part of the Norwegian collier’s bow was longer than its part above water.

After the mentioned collision, this bow design wasn’t used anymore (it could easily break through the underwater hull of other ship).

Other designs were used, i.e. the bulbous bow design. A bulbous bow also increases the buoyancy of the forward part and hence reduces the pitching of the ship to a small degree.

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