Derbyshire Family Association: David Ramwell papers
The Liverpool registered oil/bulk/ore (OBO) carrier Derbyshire, owned by Bibby Line, was built in 1976 in the Swan Hunter shipyard at Haverton Hill on the River Tees. Originally named Liverpool Bridge, the vessel was renamed in 1977, the fourth Bibby Line vessel to be called Derbyshire. On September 9th 1980, on a voyage from Seven Islands, Quebec, Canada to Japan with a cargo of iron ore concentrates, Derbyshire sank during Typhoon Orchid in the Pacific Ocean south of Japan. On board were 42 crew members and 2 wives of crew members, all 44 were lost at sea.
The Derbyshire Family Association was formed in 1984. The aims of the association were to provide support to the families of those lost and to discover what had happened to the ship. The families were angry at the lack of interest shown by the authorities in discovering how such a large vessel could sink in relatively unremarkable weather. The DFA’s campaign took 20 years from the sinking to the RFI and the organisation continues today to work to improve safety at sea, especially for bulk carriers.
The DFA were not the only people lobbying for a full investigation of the sinking, Captain David Ramwell, a coastal master for North West Water, became interested in the loss and concerned about the lack of action from the Government, shipbuilders, shipowners and the marine classification societies. He campaigned alongside the DFA for a full investigation into the sinking. Ramwell was a member of the DFA, but resigned in order that any actions he took could not affect the reputation of the DFA. Ramwell was a member of the campaign co-ordinating Derbyshire Action Group (DAG), alongside MPs, trade unions and the DFA. This collection was donated to the Maritime Archives & Library, National Museums Liverpool by Captain Ramwell in 2008. It contains the records created by Ramwell during his efforts to uncover the reasons for the sinking of Derbyshire. See attached list for further details.