The Derbyshire's sister ship, the Kowloon Bridge
|Port of registry:||Liverpool|
|Launched:||5 December 1975|
|Identification:||IMO number: 7343805 Call sign: GULK|
|Fate:||Lost on 9 September 1980 during Typhoon Orchid, 44 people (42 crewmen and two wives) killed, wreck located Coordinates:|
|Notes:||Largest British ship ever lost at sea|
|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)|
|Installed power:||B&W 8K98FF|
|Speed:||15.5 knots (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph)|
|Capacity:||c. 160,000 tonnes of cargo|
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 is 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, and Kowloon Bridge respectively) were built by Seabridge for Bibby Line. The ship was laid up for two of its four years of service life.
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, Quebec, Canada, her destination being Kawasaki, Japan, though she foundered near Okinawa (Southern 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. The vessel had been following weather routing advice by "Ocean routes", a commercial weather routing company.
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.
After the loss of her sister ship MV Kowloon Bridge off the coast of the Republic of Ireland in 1986, after a series of events precipitated by deck cracking discovered after an Atlantic crossing, the Derbyshire investigation was re-opened by the relatives of the victims of the sinking. With financial support from the Seafarers Union in 1994 a deep water search began.
In June 1994, the wreck of Derbyshire was found at a depth of 4 km, spread over 1.3 km. An additional expedition spent over 40 days photographing and examining the debris field looking for evidence of what sank the ship. Ultimately it was determined that waves crashing over the front of the ship had sheared off the covers of small ventilation pipes near the bow. Over the next two days, seawater had entered through the exposed pipes into the forward section of the ship, causing the bow to slowly ride lower and lower in the water. Eventually, the bow was completely exposed to the full force of the rough waves which caused the massive hatch on the first cargo hold to buckle inward allowing hundreds of tons of water to enter in moments. As the ship started to sink, the second, then third hatches also failed, dragging the ship underwater. As the ship sank, the water pressure caused the ship to be twisted and torn apart by implosion.
A bronze plaque was placed on the wreckage as a memorial to those who were lost.
On 21 September 1980, the Bibby Line vessel Cambridgeshire held a memorial service for the Derbyshire in the area the vessel was lost.
In 2010, a memorial service was held in the vessel's home port of Liverpool on the 30th anniversary of Derbyshire's loss.
A permanent memorial was dedicated on 15th September 2018 in the garden of the Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas, Liverpool.
- List of ship launches in 1976
- List of shipwrecks in 1980
- List of maritime disasters
- SS Edmund Fitzgerald, an American bulk carrier lost in 1975 under similar circumstances
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to MV Derbyshire Memorial, Liverpool.|
- "7343085". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
- "MV Derbyshire - HC Deb 03 July 1996 vol 280 cc883-904". www.hansard.millbanksystems.com. Hansard / House of Commons proceedings. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
- "List of websites and links of the enquiries of Derbyshire sinking". www.c4tx.org. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
- "What really happened to the Derbyshire". Archived from the original on 17 September 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- "The final voyage of Derbyshire". www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk. Liverpool museum. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
- "The final voyage of MV Derbyshire". Liverpool Museums. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- Marston, Paul (9 November 2000). "Crew cleared over sinking of Derbyshire". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
- Mearns, David. "Searching for the Derbyshire". Archived from the original on 13 August 2001. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- "Conclusions". Archived from the original on 8 April 2000. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- "Prescott remembers Derbyshire victims". BBC News. 9 September 2000.
- Stewart, Gary. "Memorial service to remember loss of MV Derbyshire". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 17 February 2012.