Detached lifeboat forward off-load release hook on ferry Pride of Bilbao

Location: Bay of Biscay.

Completed PE Summary: Pride of Bilbao

A short summary of the accident and action taken:

Merchant Vessel/Accident Details
Vessel Name Pride of Bilbao
Registered Owner/Manager P&O Ferries
Port of Registry Portsmouth
Flag UK
Type Ro-ro passenger ferry
Built 1986
Classification Society Lloyds Register
Construction Steel
Length Overall 176.8m
Gross Tonnage 37583
Date/Time 14/11/06
Location of Incident Bay of Biscay
Incident Type Hazardous Incident
Injuries/Fatalities None
Damage/Pollution None


The Pride of Bilbao is fitted with six 144 person enclosed lifeboats. On the 14 November 2006, on a regular crossing of the Bay of Biscay, it was discovered that the forward off-load release hook of lifeboat 13 had become detached from the forward davit fall. The forward end of the lifeboat was only held in place by the forward gripe. The forward keel chock, against which the boat rested, was also found detached from its mounting. The boat was left untouched until arrival in port where it was lashed in postion securely. On the voyage, the sea had been rough with force 7-8 winds, but this was not unusual for this crossing.

The lifeboat was closely examined once the Pride of Bilbao entered refit. The off-load release hooks on this boat had been replaced by the lifeboat manufacturers the previous year due to wear. On examination, they were found to be subtly different in profile, though of the same design principle, to those they replaced. The other lifeboats onboard all retained hooks of the original type.

Action taken

Although the precise mechanism for the forward hook becoming disconnected has not been ascertained, the MCA is working closely with the lifeboat manufacturers to ensure the lifeboat release hooks on lifeboat 13 are fit for purpose.

Published 23 January 2015