Keystorm

Ship Name
Keystorm
Depth
25' - 120'
Difficulty
Average
Length
256'
Date Sunk
October 1912
Unique Characteristics
Lies on its side, huge cargo bays open, at an angle with the screws in the sand at approximately 110'. Cabin is open, on its side.  Be very careful of punctures in cabin during any swim-throughs.

The Keystorm 5The Keystorm 4

Site Description
Two bouy lines at the surface for dive boat tie-in.  One to the bow, the other to mid-ship.  Little to no current on the wreck.
Captains Log

The Keystorm, a vessel belonging to the Keystone Transportation Company of Montreal, engaged regularly in the coal trade between various coal ports in the United States and Montreal, Left Charlotte, NY, on October 25, 1912 about 3:00 PM for Montreal with a cargo of 2,273 tons of coal and arrived of Tibbetts Point in the St. Lawrence about midnight. At 12:15 AM on October 26, the master gave over the charge of the navigation to his first mate, with the orders of a very definite nature as to what he should do, but for some reason or other did not go below to his quarters, but remained on the forward deck, evidently not being quite satisfied of the first mate's ability to run the vessel in the intricate channel in that locality and also being doubtful as to the state of the weather, which was at that time unsettled.

At 3 AM the ship being off Alexandria Bay, the master retired to his bed, the weather conditions, according to evidence, being the same, but he did not take off his clothes, evidently expecting a call. From that point that point the vessel proceeded safely up to Sister's Island Light, which was a perfectly straight course from Sunken Rock Light. When passing the Sister's she rant into a bank of fog which obscured all lights and landmarks. The first mate then showed total disregard of all prudence or common sense and, not knowing what course the vessel would steer by compass, never having, as he said paid any attention to such a method of navigation, he tried to take the customary course by using what he supposed was the glimmer of light on Sister's Island over the stern, but without being able to see the gas buoy on Chippewa Point Shoal which under ordinary circumstances would have shown on the starboard bow. Then, being doubtful of the ship's position, and without any reduction in speed, he sent to call down the master, but before this could be done the ship struck Outer Scow Shoal, and became a total loss.

The Court finds that the master, Louis Daigneault, showed a lack of judgment in allowing the mate to take charge of the navigation of this valuable vessel in this particular location where the greatest amount of care is necessary for navigation even during the daytime, knowing as he did the limited experience the mate had in this work, and his going below at 3:00 AM was an act of culpable negligence as there were still dangers to avoid and in less than two hours it would have been daylight. The court therefore suspends his certificate from November 1, 1912 to November 1, 1913.
With respect to the conduct of John Leboeuf, the mate, the court is of the opinion that his neglect to call the master when the weather became thick, his lack of initiative in not stopping the engines when he lost his bearing and his utter disregard of the compass course to be steered, was gross and culpable negligence, and suspends his certificate from November 1, 1912 to November 1, 1914.

The court severely reprobates the very loose method of navigation which seems to the customary on vessels of this class, and particularly the want of compass courses, and suggests a printed card of all courses and distances on the various runs, the card to hung up in the pilothouse, ready for instant reference in the case the leading lights or marks become obscured as happened in this case. The court is of the opinion that everything was done in the Engineer Room with regard to the pumping arrangements, but in spite of this, the water gradually gained and ultimately caused the vessel to slip off the shoal into deep water and flounder about five hours after stranding. No attempt seems to have been made to tray to get the vessel off the shoal and it is the court's opinion that under the circumstances it was just as well. December 1912 Keystorm at the time of her loss was valued at about $125,000 and her cargo at $300,000 and accordingly her owners were understandably reluctant to abandon her. In the early spring of 1913 a diver was sent down and he reported that the steamer was lying on her starboard side in deep water, with her bottom ripped out for a distance of about 60 feet back from the bow. The diver's opinion was that it would not be possible to salvage the ship and, as a result, Keystorm was officially abandoned in April 1913.