On 8th March 1917 the Norwegian collier Storstad was shelled and sunk. She was some 45 nautical miles off Fastnet Rock when she was attacked by the German submarine U-62. Storstad had been built in 1910 by Armstrong, Whitworth at Newcastle, with a strengthened hull: she was 440 feet long, 6,028grt. At the time of the attack she was carrying a cargo of maize from Buenos Aires to Rotterdam, as part of the Belgian Relief Effort. In spite of this, the submarine fired 12 shells from her deck gun, then torpedoed her.
Several years earlier Storstad had gained notoriety when, in dense fog, she had rammed and sunk the Canadian Pacific liner Empress of Ireland, in the St Lawrence. The liner had sailed from Quebec on 28th May 1914, with 1,057 passengers and a crew of 420. In the ensuing disaster over 1,000 people died, either in the collision or in the freezing waters. More passengers were lost in this collision than on Titanic, but in the deteriorating events in Europe it was quickly forgotten.