In an eerie coincidence, the Empress of Britain, sister to the Empress of Ireland, while bound from Quebec to Liverpool, collided IN DENSE FOG with a fully laden collier in the afternoon of July 27th, 1912. Helvetia, a coal boat for the Dominion Coal Co. --as was the Storstad--was struck amidships and sank quickly after the two ships separated. Helvetia's crew of 43 and two female passengers were taken aboard the Empress of Britain, whose bow was heavily damaged in the collision.
Ironically, both the Empress of Britain and her sister ship Empress of Ireland were built at the same ship yard Fairfield Engineering and Shipbuilding within two years. The Storstad and Helvetia were also built just a year apart at the shipyard of Armstrong, Whitworth & Co. in Newcastle. As well, both were loaded with Cape Breton coal and bound for Montreal.
The location of the accident? Some 325 nautical miles down the St. Lawrence from Quebec City, not far from where the Empress of Ireland would sink twenty two months later.
The full story plus drawings of the S.S. Helvetia can be found in "A Tale of Two Sisters/A History of the Atlantic Empresses"
Source: Public Domain.
S.S. Helvetia starts to sink stern first as the water rushes in from the port side. As the Empress of Britain backs away from the S.S. Helvetia. There was no loss of life in this accident.
Photo Credit: Newcastle City Library
Port Side of the S.S. Helvetia, 1911 during its sea trials. A year later the Empress of Britain would collided on the port side after the superstructure towards the stern.