While P&O ferry is questioned in yacht tragedy, ship's captain tells PBO vessel should have been spotted from the bridge.

The yacht Ouzo, on which three men died after a suspected collision with a ship, should have been spotted from the bridge, a ship’s captain told PBO.

‘Mark one eyeball is part of seamanship practice,’ said Captain Paul Fuller of Associated British Ports Southampton. ‘There should always be adequate lookouts on the bridge, and a yacht should show up on radar two or three miles away. It can be difficult to pick out a yacht against the lights of the shore, but it’s not impossible.’

P&O ferry Pride of Bilbao is one of several ships being investigated by the MAIB in connection with the disappearance of the Sailfish 25 last week. The bodies of the crew – Rupert Saunders, 36, Jason Downer, 35, and James Meaby, 36 – were found off St Catherine’s Point on the Isle of Wight.

The Marine Accident and Investigation Branch is compiling data from the ‘black boxes’ of all shipping in the area. Known as a voyage data recorders, these can play back the ship’s electronic plot, position, heading, speed, radar plot as well as engine and steering controls. They also record all voice communications from the bridge.

QHM Portsmouth and Southampton Vessel Traffic Services, which PBO featured in October 2005 in a feature ‘Mind that Ship’, are also helping with enquiries by providing ships’ tracks.

Photo: Southampton VTS will be assisting the police with their enquiries