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Last Updated: Friday, 25 July, 2003, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
Gaul victims released for burial
The Gaul
The wreck of The Gaul was found in August 1997
Families of three trawler men who died in one of Britain's most controversial maritime disasters will finally be allowed to bury their loved ones - 30 years after their deaths

The remains of three fishermen who died on board the trawler The Gaul were released for burial at the opening of an inquest in Hull on Friday.

The ship sank in the Barents Sea in 1974 with the loss of all 36 hands, amid claims it was involved in spying on the Soviet navy.

Remains recovered from the wreck were formally identified as factory charge hand Stan Collier, 40, engineer James Wales, 29, and acting first mate Maurice Spurgeon, 38.

There's still many questions left unanswered
Ken Collier, victim's son
The inquest in Hull heard the wreck was discovered in August 1997.

DNA profiling was used to identify the men from human remains recovered earlier this year.

Nine remotely operated vehicles were used to explore the wreck and collect bones and clothing.

A formal investigation at the time the trawler vanished concluded the vessel capsized in heavy seas but found no direct evidence of how the tragedy occurred.

After the opening of the inquest, Mr Collier's son, Ken, 47, from Hull, said he hoped this would be the final chapter in the quest for answers.

He said: "We want to know what's going to happen next. There's still many questions left unanswered.

"We are going to have a full service and then he will be interred with the rest of his family."

The inquest was adjourned.

'DNA setback' for Gaul families
07 Apr 03  |  Humber
Gaul public inquiry postponed
19 Mar 03  |  England
Gaul body is Hull trawlerman
10 Jan 03  |  England
Bones found in trawler wreck
25 Jul 02  |  Scotland

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