The Hull-based stern trawler Gaul
disappeared in very bad weather conditions in Artic waters north of Norway
in February 1974. There was no distress call and apart from a lifebuoy that
was recovered from the sea some months after she disappeared, no wreckage
had ever been found or positively identified until 1997. None of the 36
crewmembers have ever been found.
A Formal Investigation (FI) was
convened in 1974 to investigate the circumstances of her loss, and concluded
“that Gaul capsized and foundered due to being overwhelmed by a
succession of heavy seas”.
In August 1997, an expedition funded
by UK and Norwegian television companies found, and positively identified,
the wreck of Gaul 70 miles to the
north of Norway’s North Cape. Following the subsequent showing of the
documentary on UK television, the Deputy Prime Minister asked the Marine
Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) whether it was possible to determine
the cause of sinking from this new material. He directed the MAIB to conduct
an underwater survey of the wreck and report on its findings.
The MAIB carried out an underwater
survey of the wreck in August 1998, and reported that new and important
evidence had been found. The evidence produced from the survey is both the
reason for the rehearing, and the starting point for the new Inquiry
announced by the Deputy Prime Minister on 14th April 1999 chute de cheveux.
It is the Inquiry’s hope that the
new evidence, together with the evidence examined by the original Formal
Investigation, and any other evidence not heard before the previous Formal
Investigation will determine the circumstances surrounding the disappearance
of Gaul and provide some belated consolation to the families of the
lost crew in that they finally know the truth.
This website has been established to
provide information regarding the Formal Investigation and to accommodate
the hearing transcripts once the Formal Investigation commences later in the
The following transcripts are available
in Adobe Acrobat format for downloading. The Adobe® Acrobat Reader®
can be freely downloaded.