SS Empire Energy

11 Miles West of Cape Norman, Northern Newfoundland

Summer 2010.

I've known about this shipwreck for nearly 2 years but hadn't seen it yet, as I thought there was a washed out bridge preventing a vehicular approach. I made plans to take a bicycle down the road instead, but never got around to it as this shipwreck is a 475km (300mi) drive away from my house.

When I heard the bridge wasn't washed out, plans were made to check it out on my next northern journey.

To reach the remains of the SS Empire Energy, you need to leave Highway 435 and drive on a gravel road for 16km (10mi). For a road no longer maintained, the gravel road was surprisingly smooth.

It was a foggy day when we went & the mood was set over the rocky barrens and moist bogs. Tire tracks and firewood piles told us that we weren't the only humans on this road, and a moose trotting across our path told us know that we weren't even the only unique species.

The shipwreck is near the end of the road & it makes a dramatic entrance by appearing just after a portion of view-blocking shrubbery - suddenly the shrubbery ends & there's your shipwreck & the Atlantic to the north.

While it's too windy & cold for growth of anything tall, low-lying vegetation is bright & lush, which you notice as you push down the gently worn path from the road towards the pieces of metal. The vegetation ends as you reach a slaty beach with slippery rocks & pieces of metal dying to test your dedication to fighting Tetanus.

As for history, the SS Empire Energy has an interesting one in that it was intentionally wrecked on this coast: on a voyage from Sydney, Nova Scotia to Belfast in 1941 (during WWII), the ship encountered German submarines & intentionally wrecked here, near Cape Norman. There were no casualties.

I'm certain it was the biggest event to ever happen to the nearby community of Big Brook (pop maybe 50?).

It's a really neat location to see, but limited after you inspect the boat and various pieces of driftmetal. Determined to get more pictures & see something more, I climbed onto the boat, even though it was awkward to climb on.

I succeeded only in ripping my jacket, while not seeing anything you couldn't see from the shore. Nicole sat and watched without complaining or worrying - she was always good for that.

Anyway, to see what the boat looked like in 1959, click here.

I would guess the rest of the boat would break apart within a few years, but surprisingly this much has lasted for 70 years now, so who knows.

We headed back for the paved highway.


1 - SS Empire Energy - Wreck Site

Go Back to the Main Page of this Website