Picture clues to shipwreck mystery

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Experts are studying thousands of underwater pictures to try to solve a 17-year-old mystery surrounding the largest British merchant ship ever lost at sea. The images of the 169,000-ton bulk carrier MV Derbyshire were taken during a United Kingdom Government-EC sponsored expedition to the site of the wreck in the Pacific this spring.

The Teesside-built Derbyshire went down in a typhoon off Japan in 1980 with the loss of its 44-strong British crew. An official inquiry into the disaster in 1987 said the weather was probably to blame. But families of the crew, trade unions and shipping experts have long argued that the disaster was caused by structural defects in the vessel.