Incorrect painter release hook connection causing rescue boat to fall from ro-ro passenger ferry Pride of Bilbao with 2 people injured

Location: Cherbourg Harbour, France.

Accident Investigation Report: Pride of Bilbao

Read our marine accident investigation report, which includes what happened, actions taken and subsequent recommendations:

pride-of-bilbao.pdf (1,295.15 kb)


During the morning of 1 July 2000, the starboard rescue boat of the ro-ro passenger vessel Pride of Bilbao was being recovered from the water with three crewmen on board. The vessel was alongside her berth in Cherbourg, France. As its davits were reaching the fully stowed position, the boat dropped and fell into the water. Two of the crewmen were injured, one seriously.

Safety Issues

  • the boat was tom from its transom and aft suspension hook by a loading regime it was not designed to withstand
  • as the davit was raised the lower blocks did not take to their horns due to misalignment
  • the painter was not attached to its hook during the boat’s recovery
  • the forward suspension ring was inadvertently fitted to the painter hook during the boat’s recovery


As a result of this investigation, recommendations have been to the owners of Pride of Bilbao, the International Association of Classification Societies and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

This report was published in February 2001.

Published 23 January 2015