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Last Updated: Friday, 12 September, 2003, 08:28 GMT 09:28 UK
Burial for Gaul fisherman
The Gaul
The wreck of the trawler was discovered in 1997
The remains of a fisherman are to be buried on Friday - almost 30 years after he died in a controversial maritime disaster.

Stan Collier was one of 36 crew who disappeared when the trawler The Gaul sank on 8 February 1974.

The Hull-based ship sank in the Barents Sea off the coast of Norway with the loss of all hands, amid claims it was involved in spying on the Soviet navy.

Following a memorial service at St John's Church in Hull, Mr Collier will be buried at the Western Cemetery.

An inquest into the deaths of three men whose remains were recovered from the wreck last summer was opened and adjourned in July.

There are still many questions left unanswered
Ken Collier
The remains were identified using DNA profiling as factory charge hand Mr Collier, 40, engineer James Wales, 29, and acting first mate Maurice Spurgeon, 38.

No other remains have been found to date.

Speaking after the inquest was adjourned Mr Collier's son Ken said: "There are still many questions left unanswered."

The wreck was discovered in August 1997 in an expedition funded by UK and Norwegian television companies.

An official report published in 2000 criticised the government over its treatment of the relatives of those who died.

The report, from former Department of Transport shipping policy chief Roger Clarke, investigated why there was no government search for the wreck of The Gaul prior to 1997.

Soviet jail theory

Rumours have continually circulated over the years that the trawler was involved in spying or had been torpedoed by the Soviet Union after being mistaken for a spy vessel.

Another theory suggests the ship had collided with a NATO submarine.

The state-of-the-art supertrawler sank without even sending out a distress call.

Relatives repeatedly asked for a government search to be mounted after claims that some crew members had survived and were being held in a Soviet jail.

The report found that government records on The Gaul were prematurely destroyed or overlooked.

A 1974 investigation into the sinking concluded that the trawler had capsized and foundered in heavy seas.

The finding was confirmed by a second report carried out by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch in 1999.


SEE ALSO:
Gaul victims released for burial
25 Jul 03  |  Humber
'DNA setback' for Gaul families
07 Apr 03  |  Humber
Gaul body is Hull trawlerman
10 Jan 03  |  England


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