MV Derbyshire

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Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgUnited Kingdom
  • Liverpool Bridge (1975-78)
  • Derbyshire (1978-80)
Owner: Bibby Line
Port of registry: United Kingdom Liverpool
Builder: Swan Hunter
Yard number: 57[1]
Launched: 5 December 1975[1]
Completed: June 1976[1]
Identification: IMO number: 7343805
Fate: Lost on 9 September 1980 during Typhoon Orchid, 44 people (42 crewmen and two wives) killed, wreck located 25°30′N 130°30′E / 25.500°N 130.500°E / 25.500; 130.500
Status: Wreck
Notes: Largest British ship ever lost at sea
General characteristics
Class and type: Bridge-class combination carrier
Length: 294.2 m (965 ft 3 in)
Beam: 44.3 m (145 ft 4 in)
Draft: 18.44 m (60 ft 6 in)
Ice class: A1
Installed power: B&W 8K98FF
Propulsion: 1x propeller
Speed: 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph)
Capacity: c. 160,000 tonnes of cargo
Crew: 42

MV Derbyshire was an ore-bulk-oil combination carrier built in 1976 by Swan Hunter, as the last in the series of the Bridge-class sextet. She was registered at Liverpool and owned by Bibby Line.

She was lost on 9 September 1980 during Typhoon Orchid, south of Japan. All 42 crew members and two of their wives were killed in the sinking. At 91,655 gross register tons, she was—and remains—the largest British ship ever to have been lost at sea.


Derbyshire was launched in late 1975 and entered service in June 1976, as the last ship of the Bridge-class combination carrier, originally named Liverpool Bridge. Liverpool Bridge and English Bridge (later Worcestershire) were built by Seabridge for Bibby Line. The ship was laid up for two of its four years of service life.[2]

In 1978, Liverpool Bridge was renamed Derbyshire, the fourth vessel to carry the name in the company's fleet. On 11 July 1980, on what turned out to be the vessel's final voyage, Derbyshire left Sept-Îles, Canada, her destination being Kawasaki, Japan. Derbyshire was carrying a cargo of 157,446 tonnes of iron ore.

On 9 September 1980, Derbyshire hove-to in Typhoon Orchid some 230 miles from Okinawa, and was overwhelmed by the tropical storm killing all aboard. Derbyshire never issued a Mayday distress message.[3]

The search for Derbyshire commenced on 15 September 1980 and was called off six days later when no trace of the vessel was found, and it was declared lost. Six weeks after Derbyshire sank, one of the vessel's lifeboats was sighted by a Japanese tanker.[4]

In June 1994, the wreck of Derbyshire was found at a depth of 4 km, spread over 1.3 km.[5] A bronze plaque was placed on the wreckage as a memorial to those who were lost.[4]


On 21 September 1980, the Bibby Line vessel Cambridgeshire held a memorial service for the Derbyshire in the area the vessel was lost.

The 20th anniversary of the vessel's loss was marked by a memorial service in Liverpool, England, which was attended by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.[6]

In 2010, a memorial service was held in the vessel's home port of Liverpool on the 30th anniversary of Derbyshire's loss.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "7343085". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 18 December 2009. (subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ "What really happened to the Derbyshire". Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "The final voyage of MV Derbyshire". Liverpool Museums. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Mearns, David. "Searching for the Derbyshire". Retrieved 17 February 2012. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Conclusions". Retrieved 17 February 2012. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Prescott remembers Derbyshire victims". BBC News. 9 September 2000. 
  7. ^ Stewart, Gary. "Memorial service to remember loss of MV Derbyshire". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 

External links[edit]