Gaul Investigation



The FV GAUL was lost in 1974 with her entire crew of 36, and the wreck was believed found in 1977 in about 280 metres of water. However, detailed video surveys, confirming it was the GAUL, were completed in 1997 and 1998, but were not sufficiently detailed to reveal the cause of the loss. A survey in 2002 using new state-of-the-art mini unmanned submarines revealed that the factory deck had no watertight integrity at the time of her loss. These results together with model tests undertaken by MARIN led to the re-opening of the Investigation.

The Investigation concluded that the loss was caused by the ingress of water on to the factory deck, most probably through open duff and offal chutes. At some point, the officer of the watch may have realised that there was water on the factory deck and the ship was in some danger from storm seas on her port side. He naturally attempted to bring her into wind and sea by applying full port rudder and full power on the engine as was found on the wreck. Unfortunately, the centrifugal forces from the turn came into play healing the vessel further to starboard and, with the surge of over 100 tons of water on the factory deck to starboard and astern, capsize of the GAUL, which had an operational trim by the stern of about 9ft, was inevitable.