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Kim | profile | all galleries >> Canada - Underwater >> Nova Scotia >> Empire Kingfisher tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Empire Kingfisher

The Empire Kingfisher was built in 1919 as the Coaxet by G.M Standifer Construction in Vancouver, Washington for the US Shipping Board. 401 feet in length by 53 feet wide and 6038 tons. In 1937 she was transferred to the ownership of the US Maritime Commision. In 1941 she was given to the British Ministry of War Transport as part of the lend-lease program, renamed Empire Kingfisher, and managed by Crosby, Son, and Co.

On the 18th of January 1942, while steaming up the coast to Halifax with 9400 tons of war cargo, the Empire Kingfisher struck a submerged object which holed but didnít immediately sink the ship. HMCS Lynx took off the crew and anchored the ship near Bantam Rocks. On the 19th, Kapitanleutnant Heinrich Bleichrodt in U-109 came upon the stationary Kingfisher and fired a total of five torpedoes at the vessel, at ranges of 500-1500 yards, and failed to make a hit. Faulty torpedoes were blamed, although U-109 was later given credit for the sinking. Bleichrodt withdrew in disgust and the Kingfisher sank on her own later that day.

The wreck was salvaged by Risdon Beazley in 1951-52 for itís part cargo of metal ingots. The wreck was blasted open and a total of 512 tons of mostly copper was recovered from the wreck before the company moved on the salvage the Kolkhosnik, Kaaparen,and Alexander Macomb, and also to raise the sunken ammunition ship Trongate in Halifax Harbour.

The wreck lies in 160 feet of water and is blown open and spread out much like the Russian and Kaaparen.

I dove this wreck on August 5th, along with a group of much more experienced divers. It was an eye-opening experience - one that made me realize that I need to look at more training before going to that depth again. At least in cold water!!!

Underwater photos are by Mike Grebler. Group photo was taken by the charter boat's captain.
The Empire Kingfisher
The Empire Kingfisher
Jason Kennedy on the starboard anchor
Jason Kennedy on the starboard anchor
Jason Kennedy on the starboard anchor
Jason Kennedy on the starboard anchor
Jason Kennedy on the starboard anchor
Jason Kennedy on the starboard anchor
Jason Kennedy examining the munitions at cargo hold #1
Jason Kennedy examining the munitions at cargo hold #1
Jason Kennedy examining the munitions at cargo hold #1
Jason Kennedy examining the munitions at cargo hold #1
Munitions
Munitions
The Dive Team
The Dive Team
Forward cargo mast which has topped aft across the top of cargo hold 2
Forward cargo mast which has topped aft across the top of cargo hold 2
A section of the cargo hold coaming broken off at the after end of cargo hold number 2
A section of the cargo hold coaming broken off at the after end of cargo hold number 2
A section of the cargo hold coaming broken off at the after end of cargo hold number 2
A section of the cargo hold coaming broken off at the after end of cargo hold number 2