MV Derbyshire - Search for the Truth

On display from 7 September 2012

Derbyshire wreck

Mosaic photograph of the stern, from the wreck survey of MV Derbyshire - courtesy of the Department for Transport

MV Derbyshire

MV Derbyshire (previously named MV Liverpool Bridge) was a British oil/bulk/ore (OBO) carrier built in 1976 by Swan Hunter of Newcastle and owned by Liverpool's Bibby Line. She was the last of six Bridge Class ships built between 1971 and 1976.

On 11 July 1980, she set sail from Canada bound for Japan carrying 157,446 tons of iron ore. A few days before she was due to arrive she was lost in the South China Sea during typhoon Orchid. All 42 crewmen and two wives perished, including 17 from Liverpool.

On 15 September a search commenced but after several days the ship was declared lost. The families were devastated and immediately began questioning how such a vast ship could disappear without a trace. To this day she remains the biggest British registered merchant ship ever to have been lost at sea.

Read more about the sinking of MV Derbyshire, her crew and the Derbyshire Family Association in our online feature|.

A new display

The new display, which opened in 2012, tells the story of the sinking of the MV Derbyshire|, subsequent investigations into its disappearance and the tireless campaign of the Derbyshire Family Association to find out the truth.

Featured objects include:

  • Bibby Line uniform jacket and cap of Leo Coltman, Third Engineer Officer
  • Bell presented to the Derbyshire Family Association by NUMAST
  • Letter from Ronnie Musa, Able Seaman 1
  • Memorial plaque

The display also features leaflets, books and other material produced during the Derbyshire Family Association's long campaign for the truth and to improve safety procedures for bulk carriers.