Pride of Bilbao crewman arrested for manslaugter

A second officer from P&O ferry Pride of Bilbao has been arrested in connection with the deaths of three yachtsmen. The 61-year-old man from Dover was quizzed by police yesterday on suspicion of causing manslaughter through gross negligence. He was released on bail pending further inquiries.

The bodies of James Meaby, 36, Jason Downer, 35, and Rupert Saunders, 36, were found on 23 and 24 August off the Isle of Wight. All were wearing lifejackets, two of which had been manually inflated. An inquest into the men’s deaths revealed Mr Meaby had died of drowning and hypothermia and his friends had both drowned.

Detective Inspector Nigel Niven, who is leading the inquiry into the loss of the three-man crew and the yacht Ouzo, said: ‘Whilst we continue to maintain an open mind as to the cause of this incident, the inquiry is currently focussed on the potential involvement of the Pride of Bilbao.’

P&O confirmed the man had worked for the ferry company for 20 years before moving into the agency sector. He was described as an ‘extremely experienced’ crewmember.