Artist concept of wreck


By far one of Ontario's best wrecks, built in England, this 256 ft, 2,300 ton steel freighter sank in 1912 after hitting a shoal. The coal cargo was recovered seven years later. A visit to the Keystorm reveals why she is such a favorite. She streches from her bow at 25 ft depth to 115 ft depth at the props. It is an inviting superstructure with easy access through her wheelhouse area. About midship it is suggested that you back away 50 to 60 feet to view the entire panorama. Don't miss the air pocket trapped in the achor nest and the fatal gash on the underside near her bow!



Occurred This Morning in a Fog When Freighter, Keystorm, Sank in Deep Water -- Crew all Rescued -- Cargo of 2400 Tons of Soft Coal Went to Bottom -- The Boat was Valued at $120,000, and Looks Like a Total Loss.

The greatest marine accident for perhaps half a century occurred this morning shortly after four o'clock, at a point about twelve miles west of Brockville on the American side of the river, and at what is termed in marine charts as Scotch Island shoal. The name apparently is from a small islet in that vicinity, and bears a significance owing to the fact that a buoy of demarcation for channel navigation is situated on the same.

A Steal Freighter.
The boat meeting the disaster was the Keystorm, a splendid steel freighter, the property of the Keystone Transit Company, of Montreal, and was engaged in the coal carrying trade on its eventful trip, having taken on a cargo of soft coal of 2,400 tons at Charlotte, for the Montreal Heat Light and Power Company. The craft left Charlotte yesterday, and proceeded east all rightly until meeting with disaster.

A Big Boat.
The boat was 245 feet long, with a beam of 33 feet. It was in charge of a crew of 20 men, with Captain Daignault, of Beauharnoic, the Chief Engineer Robinson, of Glasgow, Scotland.

The Cause and Where.
The point of the occurrence was about two miles west of Alan's dock on the American side of the river and the mishap entails a loss of $120,000. The cause of the accident so far as can be learned was owing to a heavy fog developing at a difficult place, and the craft got out of its course. It struck a shoal on its starboard side, the impact being so great as to tear away several feet of the hull to Artists renderingsuch an extent that she sank quickly. So , as the shock was felt the engines were stopped, and the pumps speedily put to work. The latter were of no avail as the big freighter speedily filled and the crew had to take to the life boats for a place of safety. Two yawls were quickly lowered, and the crew landed safely on an island nearby. For a time they anchored at the black buoy in the vicinity, and were able to visit the boat again for personal effects, which all obtained. The accident as has been said, occurred at 4:15, and was due, according to the statements of the crew to a fog suddenly rising and beclouding the vision of the officer in charge. The crew from their point of vantage saw the magnificent steamer go to the bottom at 9 o'clock, five hours after the accident occurred. Owing to the wind and fog and the heavy cargo she was badly impounded against the rocks, and when disappearing from view did so in a great burst of swell, which fairly enveloped her completely, and the big steamer shorn of her beauty and strength went to a depth variously estimated at from 120 to 150 feet. The company owning the lost craft has also three others still in the trade. They are the Key West, Key Port and Key Bell.

The Crew Here.
The news of the disaster caused almost consternation in Brockville, as many reports were in circulation as it was thought that the crew were lost. Happily such was not the case, and they were rescued from their moored position, and conveyed here in a motorboat, the property of Hon. Clifford Sifton. They left here this afternoon for Montreal. Among the crew was the chef, James Sperro, of Prescott.

Other Accidents
Other accidents in that vicinity were the burning of the old steamer Kingston, now the Cornwall of the Calvin Company, was burned near Corn Island with a loss of two lives. Some years later the Ocean, a popular propellor, was sunk near Dark Island without loss of life.

Brockville Recorder
Nov. 4, 1912


Loss of Keystorm in Montreal Wreck Commissioner's Court

In order to hear a witness who wished to leave for Scotland the inquiry into the recent loss of the steambarge Keystorm, 12 miles west of here, was opened in the Wreck Commissioner's Court at Montreal, Friday, and the evidence of the witness having been taken, was then adjourned. The assessors were Captains Nash, Thompson and McGrath.

Brockville Recorder
Nov. 9, 1912

The sounding of the water where the steamer Keystorm sank shows that instead of being in 150 feet of water, as at first thought, she is covered by 26 feet forward and 36 feet aft. The steamer turned over on her side, which accounts for her masts not being visible above water. It was because the masts were not to be seen that it was thought the boat had slid off the shoal into deep water. It is probable that work will soon be started at raising the steamer.

Brockville Recorder
Nov. 9, 1912


Inquiry Into Loss of Steamer Keystorm.


In the Locality Where Craft Went Down Captain Should Have Been in Full Charge.
The following judgment was given in the Keystorm case yesterday in the wreck commissioner's court at Montreal, which had inquired into the loss of the Keystorm on October 26, near Cippewa Point, 12 miles west of here. The court found that the master, Louis Daigneault, showed lack of judgment in allowing the mate to take charge of the vessel in the locality where she was lost, as it was one that required the greatest care in navigation even in the daytime, knowing, as the captain did, the limited experience of the mate, and his action in going below at 3 a.m. was an act of culpable negligence as there were still dangers to avoid and in two hours time it would have been daylight. The court therefore suspended the master's certificate from November 1, 1912, till November 1, 1913.
Sentence of the Mate
With regard to John Leboeuf, the mate, the court censured him for neglecting to call the master when the weather became thick, and for his lack of initiative in not stopping the engines when he lost his bearings. His disregard of the compass course to be steered was gross and culpable negligence and the court accordingly suspended his certificate for two years from November 1, 1912, till November 1, 1914. The court further suggested that a printed card of all courses and distances on the various runs should be hung in the pilot house for instant reference whenever the leading lights or marks should, as in this case, become obscured.

Kingston Whig
Sept. 25, 1917


Steambarge was Sunk in Fog Off Chippewa Point in 1912
The work of raising the steambarge Keystorm, sunk off Chippewa Bay Point, in 1912, while navigating the river in a heavy fog, has been commenced. Already forty tons of coal have been taken out of the hold of the craft.