The official MAIB report was released today regarding Ouzo and the Pride of Bilbao 12/4/07

The MAIB official report released today finds thePride of Bilbaoferry lookout officer had not seen the yachtOuzountil it was too late, when 20 August 2006 the yacht tragically disappeared, with the bodies of the three crew found two days later.

The MAIB investigation revealed that the watch officer for the 37,583-gross tonne ferryPride of Bilbaohad not seen the yacht until she was too close claimingOuzohad not shown up on the ferry’s radars. The report states: ‘The officer of the watch tried a last minute manoeuvre to avoid her and believed that he had been successful.’

After careful analysis the MAIB firmly believes that the ferry had collided with the yachtOuzoor had passed so close that she had been swamped or capsized by the vessel’s wash.

It is reported that before the incident thePride of Bilbaohad altered course for navigational purposes which may have confused the yacht’s crew about the ferry’s intentions. Although it is not known whether or not the yacht had their radar reflector hoisted, Ouzo had not shown up on the ferry’s radar. However,Ouzo’ssmall radar cross-section along with moderate sea conditions means the ferry may not have been able to separate the yacht from the sea clutter.

The report considers reasons why the yacht may not have been seen, including that the crew may not have used their powerful torch. Also the lenses of navigation lights units such as that fitted toOuzoare prone to crazing, may have been fitted with a lamp of lower rating, the replacement lamp may have damaged filaments or if the yacht was heeled at 5° degrees the intensity of her navigational lights may have decreased.

The report also considered that the fact that the watch officer was wearing photochromic lenses that darken when exposed to light could have contributed to the incident.

The ship’s officer of the watch, Michael Hubble, is due to stand trial for manslaughter.