Humberside Police are working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) following the discovery of human remains on the Rybachy peninsula in the Murmansk region of Russia.
At this stage there is no confirmation as to the nationality of the remains, however this area of Russia is consistent with the area where the lost crew of the Gaul could have washed ashore. The information passed to the UK authorities is that the remains were found in 1974 or 1975 by the local population.
Humberside Police deployed specially trained officers on Saturday 07 December 2013 to support the families of those who died on the Gaul in February 1974. All the families have been visited and have been given the details known about the remains and the subsequent ongoing forensic examinations.
During these visits the officers have been asking family members for descriptive and comparative information that may assist in identifying the missing from the Gaul at this time, or if other bodies are discovered at a later date.
The Russian authorities have confirmed they are conducting forensic and genetic testing on the remains and they are committed to assisting the UK in the identification of the remains found.
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Leaver from Humberside Police said: “We have met with all the families of the crew members lost on the Gaul and will continue to provide them with information as it becomes available. At the moment the information we have is very limited and we have to wait for the Russian authorities to advise us of the tests they are doing on the remains. We will continue to work with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to seek to support families and to provide more details about the remains.”
The FCO were initially informed of the remains on 04 July 2012. They informed Humberside Police on 11 September 2012 and we are working closely with the FCO. Prior to advising the families of those lost on the Gaul’s about the remains the FCO needed confirmation from Russia that they were carrying out identification procedures, as otherwise this might have hindered the communications and support that could be offered.