The Wreck

Zachary Lee

Member
Apr 22, 2005
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Yes, Ken Marschall made a painting of the sunken Empress of Ireland in the book, "Ghost Liners". Hope this helps.
 
J

Jon Meadows

Guest
Although, I just can't comprehend why ships always look melted or "gooey" in sonar images. To me, she looks like a rag doll the way she's "draped" over the ridge. Maybe I'm seeing it wrong.
 
Sep 29, 2005
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Hello Gentlemen,

What you are seeing is in fact the way she is lying on the sea floor. The upper decks have collapsed and have slid down the starboard side of the wreck exactly like the Klein side-scan sonar is showing. It is very difficult to get a view of the whole wreck because you would have to capture small glimpses of the wreck over multiple dives. Visibility is very bad and the lighting is extremely dark. These Klein sonar pieces are dated as the wreck has deteriorated much more. The center portion of the ship where salvage was undertaken to remove the teak decking in the mid-1990's causing most of the long term damage. I would suspect that the removal of this teak has accelerated the demise of this shipwreck by about 75 years. Additionally, it has caused the stern to partially "cave-in" and its once pristine section where I once sat in a wrought-iron ship deck chair now totally gone. I will be leading a dive expedition out to the wreck site beginning next weekend with the purpose of capturing video and photographs of the ship's current state of decay.

David A. Bright
Nautical Research Group, Inc.
 
Nov 22, 2000
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David,

I wish you a safe, successful trip. Having visited the wreck site several times and seen the wreck on our vessel's sonar system, it never ceases to impress me.
Will you be posting any of your photographic finds?

Geoff
 
Sep 29, 2005
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Hello Geoff,

The photos and video collected will be used in a scientific research paper that will be submitted later this year to a major underwater conference. Once the paper is published, I will be placing all the photos, video and results up on the web for the public. I have been diving the wreck since 1987 with over 125 dives and have seen so many changes in the wreck over this period of time. I have done some pretty deep penetration into the wreck but it has become so unstable that it would present a very unacceptable risk nowadays. For the past four years I have been diving the wreck using a closed-circuit rebreather which gives me a more efficient decompression profile. Thank you for your post!

David A. Bright
Nautical Research Group, Inc.
 
Sep 29, 2005
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Hello Geoff,

Last year I reported LIVE from our 2005 diving expedition to the Empress of Ireland. Daily reports on our dive to this "Lost Liner", augmented with history and diving video clips were included from all of the dives and placed on my weblog (blog) at http://shipwreck.blogs.com/shipwrecks_historical_tim/empress_of_ireland/index.html . The Empress logs from this dive expedition began with a pre-expedition summary and an exclusive article by noted Forgotten Empress author, David Zeni on June 20th, 25th, 26th followed by the actual dives from June 27th - July 3rd, and finish with a wrap-up on July 6th - just before my expedition to Titanic. This dive log series will give you the feeling of actually participating on our dives with us in the cold, dark and swift currents of the St. Lawrence. Just remember, I was beaming this information LIVE from the dive site as it was occurring (as we did from Titanic via satellite from Akademik Keldysh)from our basecamp in Rimouski / Ste Luce, Quebec. You might like to view these picture and videoclips.

David A. Bright
Nautical Research Group, Inc.
 
Nov 22, 2000
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David,

Some quite brilliant shots there! I'm so pleased to hear your views on treating the Empress as a grave as I'm descended from one of those unfortunate souls, probably still entombed within the ship.
Dave Zeni is a great friend of mine - an early version of my passenger list is included in "Forgotten Empress".

Geoff
 
Sep 29, 2005
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Geoff,

Thank you for your comment and compliment! I have the utmost respect and dignity for all the shipwrecks that I visit; however, with the Empress of Ireland, it is such a vivid and poignant reminder of such a major tragedy. With over 800 people still entombed within the wreck, I take great care in making sure that I do not disturb their final resting place.

Like yourself, David Zeni is a good friend of mine and we keep periodic contact with each other. We went to the same university, the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) and I invited him to speak on the Empress of Ireland in the late fall of 2004 as part of my annual Shipwreck Symposia. At this particular event, I had David present on the Empress, noted diver Gary Gentile speak on the Andrea Doria, well-known admiralty lawyer Peter Hess talk on the Civil War ironclad Monitor and I gave my high-quality digital video on Titanic. As you can see from the list of speakers that I recruited, it was a truly memorable experience. Our third year of the Shipwreck Symposium series will begin in the fall of 2006 at the main University Park campus of Penn State University and we are sponsored by the College of Science (which I am a member of this college's Alumni Board of Directors) and the Marine Science program in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

Right now, I am finishing the final preparations for the diving expedition. This includes all equipment testing and packing in anticipation for our first dive on Monday of next week.
 

Jason D. Tiller

Moderator
Member
Dec 3, 2000
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Niagara Falls, Ontario
Hi David,

Thank you for your information as to what is being seen in those images. I now have a better understanding of them.

Again, I wish you all the very best with your dive and may it be a safe one. I'm really looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
From BYM:

Canada. Government celebrates historical significance of RMS Empress of Ireland wreck
The Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today celebrated the national historic significance of the Wreck of the RMS Empress of Ireland, which he designated a National Historic Site of Canada, upon recommendation from the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
More at http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=58538