• MV Derbyshire

New Liverpool memorial for MV Derbyshire disaster

Plans to erect a new permanent memorial in Liverpool to the largest British ship ever to be lost at sea have been given the green light.

The MV Derbyshire, which was owned by the Liverpool-based shipping firm Bibby Line and originally known as ‘Liverpool Bridge’, sank during a typhoon south of Japan in 1980 with the loss of 44 lives.

An eight-foot sculpture commissioned by the MV Derbyshire Trust Fund is being created by local art organisation dot-art and Castle Fine Arts Foundry, which was behind the Beatles statue at Liverpool Pier Head.

The piece, which will erected in the gardens of the Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas, will take the form of a prow of a ship with a figure on top holding a wreath.

The front of the base will contain the names of those lost, along with the words “MV Derbyshire” and “they will never be forgotten”.

Liverpool City Council approved plans for the sculpture yesterday (17 January).

A scale model of the sculpture.

At 1,000ft long, the MV Derbyshire bulk carrier was almost three times the length of a football pitch and at 150ft wide, as broad as a six-lane motorway.

Her final voyage began on 11 July 1980 when she left Canada for Japan carrying over 150,000 tonnes of iron ore. However, a few days before her scheduled arrival in Japan she was overwhelmed by Typhoon Orchid and sank.

On 15 September 1980 the search for her began but was quickly called after nothing was found. All 44 people onboard MV Derbyshire died, including 42 crew and two of their wives.

In 1983, the Derbyshire Family Association was formed and in 1994, the ship was found, resulting in the reopening of the formal investigation into the loss of the vessel.

About Author: Lawrence Saunders

Lawrence is a journalist at Move Publishing. He can be contacted via email at lawrence@movepublishing.co.uk or by phone on 0151 709 3871.