Ouzo yachtsmen killed after close call with ferry, court hears

Three yachtsmen aboard Ouzo, the Sunfish 25ft, which sank without trace in August last year were left to die after the officer in charge of the P&O ferry Pride of Bilbao ignored evidence the 37,600 tonne ship had hit or swamped the yacht, a court heard yesterday.

James Meaby survived for at least 12 hours, while Jason Downer and Rupert Saunders were left treading water for more than three hours before drowning. Michael Hubble, 62, was watch leader on the ferry as she sailed from Portsmouth on the night of August 21 2006. It was alleged he simply ‘crossed his fingers’ and failed to alert the authorities after passing Ouzo behind the Isle of Wight.

Hubble of Capel-le-Ferne, Kent denies three charges of manslaughter and three of engaging in conduct likely to cause death or serious injury to another.

The trial continues at Winchester Crown Court today.