MV Derbyshire

The Derbyshire was launched in 1976 at Swan Hunter, Teesside, for the Bibby Tankers line, Liverpool, the last of six Bridge-class OBO ships. She had 9 holds with a capacity of 6,000,000 cu. ft. Her length, beam, and laden draft were, respectively, 965', 45', and 60', at 166,000 DWT and 91,654 GRT. She was propelled by a 28,000 bhp B&W diesel engine.

The Derbyshire, the largest British-flagged ship ever lost, disappeared in 1980 in Typhoon Orchid whilst carrying 157,000 tons of iron ore concentrate from Sept-Isles, Canada to Kawasaki, Japan. 42 crewmen and 2 wives were lost.

A subsequent court of inquiry concluded the loss was due to poor seamanship. However, the MV Derbyshire Family Association refused to accept this conclusion and fought long and hard for a review. (See A Ship too Far by Ramwell and Madge, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1992). The Derbyshire was found in 1994 ESE of Okinawa in 12,000 ft of water through a search funded by the International Transport Workers Federation at a cost of approximately $900,000.

The Derbyshire's wreckage was examined extensively in a UK-sponsored survey in 1997 and a report from the official inquiry was released in 2000. The report cleared the British crew and impuned the accepted design criteria for bulker hatch-covers.

Footnote: Since 1980, over 240 bulkers (greater than 10,000 DWT) and approximately 1500 mariners have been lost. At least 22 of these bulkers have disappeared without a trace.