Keweenaw County MI


S.S. Emperor (1935) (Canadian Steamship Line - sunk off Isle Royale in 1947)
Contributed by Paul Petosky

This freighter was built by the Collingwood Shipbuilding Company, Collingwood, Ontario, Canada, and was launched on December 17, 1910.

It sunk off the shore of Isle Royale, MI on June 4, 1947. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

Date: July 25, 1947 Paper: Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH) Page: 11
By Bertram B. Lewis

Salvage of the 7,000-ton Canadian vessel [Emperor] which sank June 4, 1947, with the loss of 12 lives, will be impossible, marine men said yesterday after an investigation of the area of the sinking, off Canoe Docks near Isle Royale in Lake Superior, according to a Duluth source. The ship, which broke into two sections, is poised near the brink of a 750-foot dropoff, it was said. The bow section is in 65 feet of water and the stern section in 120 feet, only 50' feet from the dropoff. The first strong northeastern might tumble her into deep water,; observers said. Salvage could have been attempted but for the ore cargo, according to Duluth marine men.

The Emperor left Thunder Bay, Ontario on the night of June 3, 1947, laden with 10,429 tons of iron ore. At about midnight, the captain turned the ship over to the first mate, who had been in charge of loading cargo only hours earlier. It is likely that fatigue contributed to the mate's failure to catch the error in the ship's heading. At 4:15 on the morning of June 4, the Emperor ran aground on the north side of Canoe Rocks, on the northeast end of Isle Royale. The ship sank within 30 minutes, killing twelve crewmembers, including both the captain and the first mate. A Coast Guard cutter was nearby, and the remaining crewmembers were rescued 30 minutes later.[3]

Search and rescue operations were begun shortly thereafter, but no more survivors were found. Some dives were made to the wreck to locate remains of the crew, but no salvage operations were attempted. The body of a victim was discovered by sport divers in 1975, and was reportedly removed by Canadian officials. The wreck of this ship is a significant event in the history of Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Found on Wikipedia

Keweenaw Greetings - contributed by Paul Petosky