Ships Nostalgia

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John Rogers 9th October 2006 00:07

Watch a a TV show today about the sinking and the finding the wreck of the Derbyshire,great to watch,the program is on the History Channel. Anyone remember the loss of the ship.?

2548hopw 9th October 2006 00:23

I remember it well. I was a cadet at the time on a ship nearby. My fiance at the time thought it was our ship had gone down when she heard the news. I was on watch when we found out and our Somali lookout had swapped ships with a friend so he wasn't on the Derbyshire. He was naturally devastated and relieved at the same time. Very very sad. Was it eventually put down to a construction fault.. Steve

John Rogers 9th October 2006 01:29

Thats what they said,due to water entering the holds through the open 12 inch vents,every time a wave came over the bow most of it went down the vent. They did change the design feature due to that problem.

2548hopw 9th October 2006 01:36

Was she called the "........... Bridge" before and had already suffered a crack between hull and accomodation block. The way I remember it she suddenly broke her back. Help me with the name. Memory isnt what it used to be. Cheers Steve.

rushie 9th October 2006 08:46

I think she was the Westminster Bridge...may be wrong, but a friend of mine served on her under that name.


John Cassels 9th October 2006 09:04

Did an inspection once on one of the 6 sister ships. There was indeed
a discontinuation in way of fore and aft girders , cofferdam between
pumproom and ER.


Les Gibson 9th October 2006 11:31

She was 'Liverpool Bridge' before renaming 'Derbyshire'

Paul Liu 9th October 2006 14:12


The disaster of Derbyshire was also partly blamed on rogue waves, since you were nearby, do you remember the wave conditions at the time?


LEEJ 9th October 2006 17:18

The latest version of the loss was down to a defective design of the focsle hatch.Apparently it was customary to secure the hatch with extra lashings as it was known to spring open in any weather. Unfortunately the lost crew were not aware of this defect and this started a chain reaction of events once water started entering the focsle.The discontinuation of the longitudinals was considered not a cause of the loss I believe. I think all the sister ships cracked here and one was lost through it.

Pat McCardle 9th October 2006 21:38

Sir Alexander Glen was one of this design & I remember a friend telling me that everytime they were in port welders were on board working around the hatch comings. Welders were even flown out of Cape Town as some of the cracks were appearing after being in foul weather.

John Rogers 9th October 2006 21:43

Where were the ships built Pat?

Pat McCardle 9th October 2006 21:45

Swan Hunter's, Haverton Hill yard, near Sealsands

2548hopw 10th October 2006 11:56

Paul The weather was pretty bad but I was on a SD14 and she coped well with the conditions.....Steve

Fairfield 10th October 2006 12:40

More in the Bulkers Forum.

Frank P 10th October 2006 23:01

Didn't one of the Derbyshires sister ships (Hongkong Bridge?) break up in bad weather somewere near the Irish coast.


Gulpers 10th October 2006 23:12


Almost correct.
The ore/bulk/oil motor vessel Kowloon Bridge, was built in 1973 as a sister ship to the ill-fated Derbyshire which disappeared off the coast of Japan in September, 1980. Kowloon Bridge also became a total loss in November 1986 when she was wrecked off Baltimore on the southern coast of Ireland.

Gulpers 10th October 2006 23:23

Derbyshire, Tyne Bridge, Kowloon Bridge
".......... Then on 18th November 1986 the Kowloon Bridge, one of the Derbyshire's sister ships, developed severe deck cracking at Frame 65 whilst crossing the North Atlantic in severe weather. In view of the connection with the Derbyshire the Department of Transport's inspectors boarded the Kowloon Bridge on 20th November in Bantry Bay, Eire where she lay at anchor.
But on 22nd November she broke away from her anchor and, to be safer, put to sea again. She then lost her rudder and on 24th November went aground on Stag Rock off the south coast of Ireland. On 25th November, after grounding, she broke her back; the break occurred near Frame 65. It was learnt that cracks in the Frame 65 area of the Kowloon Bridge had been repaired in April 1982 and that massive girders had been welded over the deck there to prevent further cracking. ........."

Extracted from which gives some background to the Derbyshire, Tyne Bridge and Kowloon Bridge incidents.

Frank P 11th October 2006 07:32

Thanks for the addition information Ray, I remembered that the ship that went aground in Southern Ireland had a name that had something to do with Hong Kong. I can remember seeing the newsreels about the incedent. My brother was sailing on the "Kowloon Bay" around that time.

cheers Frank

Gulpers 11th October 2006 12:30

A pleasure Frank - hope it was useful. (Thumb)

leo hannan 11th October 2006 12:34

I was on the Furness Bridge at the time, one of six ships built by Swan Hunter(Haverton Hill) From what I remember the longitudal beams were incomplete. Our main deck cracked for'd of the accom. block. We had a team of Japanese welders on board at sea for weeks. We had to set tables up in the alleyways to feed everyone. Chief Engs. dreaded serving on her, things kept dropping off the engines.

ddraigmor 12th October 2006 12:13

She cracked at Frame 65 - which was the point all her sister's did, so far as I recall.

I wrote an article and some letters to 'The Seaman' (the NUS Newspaper) at the time and also got involved with captain DC Ramwell, who was a tireless campaigner for the truth behind her loss.

Anyone know where dave ramwell is nowadays? I heard her moved to mid Wales........

john g 13th October 2006 10:45

I always felt the gut feeling over the tragedy was probably closer to the truth than the official written word but there is no evidence to support "gut feelings", having sailed in bad weather in the south China sea I still cringe at the thought of this tragedy.

quietman 9th November 2006 20:44

I sailed on the Tyne Bridge before the Derbyshire disaster happened,even then the class of ship had various problems.On the tyne bridge you couldnt even stand on theplatforms to operate the winches as one crew member fell through and injured his leg badly due to rust

john shaw 9th November 2006 22:57

see the following re Kowloon Bridge

the latter discusses Frame 65 etc.

Pic of Liverpool Bridge/Derbyshire at:

broadbandylegs 28th December 2006 23:54

Structural faults?
I was on the same class of ship - the Sir Alexander Glen (that ship was hard work!) - as a senior cadet after the Derbyshire incident. We sailed from Canada to Japan with a number of cracks in the pumproom bulkhead - ends all drilled and checked after each watch!

Once we reached Japan and discarged, we went to a repair berth and were swamped by a repair crew who worked continuosly until the job was finished - cut out huge sections of hull around the saddle tanks and replaced with pre fabricated repair sections - amazing to watch! I'm sure I have some photos somewhere - if I can find them, I'll post.

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