Cameras to study wreck of ship: Funding given for sea-bed investigation

ONE of the great sea mysteries of modern times has moved a step closer to being solved.

Families who have campaigned for years for the wreck of the MV Derbyshire to be examined, have received pounds 50,000 from the International Transport Workers' Federation for a feasibility study to go ahead.

The Derbyshire, a 166,000-ton oil-bulk ore carrier, sank in a typhoon off the coast of Japan in 1980, with the loss of 44 lives. Families of those who died in the tragedy believe the vessel broke in two before she hit the ocean floor and is lying in two halves, 21 miles apart, in 3,000 metres of water.

Over the next two weeks, remote-controlled cameras will venture to the sea-bed to film fractured sections of the Derbyshire's sister ship, Kowloon Bridge, which split in two after running aground off the coast of Ireland. If the picture quality is deemed good enough by the ITF's executive board, members of the Derbyshire Families Association hope the organisation will grant the remainder of the pounds 810,000 costs of the expedition.

An inquiry in 1989 investigating the break-up of the Kowloon Bridge, concluded that an 'act of God', rather than a design fault, was responsible for the Derbyshire's break-up.

But if families can prove structural faults led to the tragedy, it could pave the way for compensation claims totalling an estimated pounds 80m.

Ocean Technologies, the American-based company employed to carry out the expedition work, is confident the amount of information it has received about the wreck will enable it to prove how she sank once and for all.

Captain David Ramwell, who co-authored the book A Ship Too Far about the Derbyshire's disappearance, believes a giant girder, acting as the ship's 'spine', was made in two halves by the manufacturers, weakening it and leading to cracks developing in the hull.

A member of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union has travelled to Japan to study coastguards' records in order to track down the wreck's location. If the feasibility study proves successful, campaigners hope expedition work will begin at the beginning of next year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established managed services IT...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Recruitment Genius: Plant Fitter - Construction Industry

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This well established construction equipment d...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003