Ouzo disappearance solved?

A senior ship’s officer appeared in court yesterday charged with the manslaughter of three men whose yacht is believed to have been destroyed in a collision with a ferry in the English Channel. see previous story 

The bodies of skipper Rupert Saunders, 36, and crew members James Meaby, 36, and Jason Downer, 35, were found drowned after their Sailfish 25 yachtOuzovanished after they left the Isle of Wight bound for Devon.

Michael Hubble, 61, (pictured) a watch officer, was working aboard the P&O car ferry thePride of Bilbao, which was in the vicinity of the Ouzo at the time. Yesterday, he was charged with manslaughter of all three men due to gross negligence between August 20 and August 23 last year. Wearing a blue blazer, he spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth when he appeared before Portsmouth magistrates.

Mr Hubble, of Folkestone, Kent, was granted unconditional bail to attend Winchester crown court for a preliminary hearing on February 16.

The hearing was told Mr Meaby and Mr Downer were found with life jackets manually inflated, while Mr Saunders was wearing an automatically-inflated jacket. Postmortem examinations showed that Mr Downer and Mr Saunders died from drowning, while Mr Meaby died from a combination of hypothermia and drowning.