Radars lost Gaul with its crew of 36 people in a storm in February 1974
This is a really old case, but it abounds in wonderful aspects. The British Themis is launching a public inquiry into the 1974 demise of some "collective James Bond", the British trawler Gaul suspected of collecting military information about Soviet Northern Fleet bases.
Radars lost Gaul with its crew of 36 people in a storm in February 1974. Initial searches for the crew members or the site of Gaul's tragic demise were not a success. It happened just four years ago that the position data of the trawler's demise were established thanks to some coincidences. A brief official report on the tragic accident in 1974 said that "the vessel was flooded and sank because of the rough sea." As a result of the tragedy the crew of 36 members died. Almost immediately after the tragic disappearance of the trawler, British mass media suggested that the vessel's crew was furrowing the Norwegian Sea to collect military information about Soviet Northern Fleet bases on the instructions of Mi-6. It was supposed that the people died because of some incident where Russians might be probably involved. The suggestions sounded believable, as the Mi-6 leadership admitted that in the 1970s they employed civil vessels navigating areas close to the Soviet territorial waters for intelligence purposes. It was also supposed that Gaul was destroyed with a Soviet torpedo or collided with a NATO vessel when it maneuvered in the storm.
Until the early 1990s, British officials, including the Ministry of Defense, hushed up not only suggestions of any kind but also the very fact of the trawler's demise. Wreckage of the trawler was found in 1997; in two years, British Vice-premier John Prescott ordered to recommence investigation of the incident. Remains of four members of the Gaul crew were found in 2002.
The inquiry is to last for about five weeks; United Kingdom Prosecutor General Lord Goldsmith will open the procedure. Lawyers will take up all documents concerning the trawler demise to find out the reason of the tragedy. Judge Justice Steel leading the investigation may summon officers of the British intelligence, including Mi-6 officials, to find out if any members of the Gaul crew had cooperated with the British Special Services and collected military information about the Soviet Union.