In 2002 the MAIB carried out an underwater survey of the wreck of the Gaul and produced over 3,000 hours of high quality video footage.
The survey vessel used, MPSV Seisranger, was equipped with nine Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), including several mini-ROVs. The cost for this operation, as the Transport minister advised, amounted to about £3 million.
During the 2004 Re-opened Formal Investigation parts of this video footage were examined by the retained experts and a few selections from this material were afterwards attached to the RFI final report as evidentiary material and placed in the public domain – the coverage of the duff and offal chutes themselves, the very cause of the sinking, representing only a minuscule part of these selections (approx. 64 seconds).
Wishing to obtain some of the missing sections in digital format, so we can publish them more easily, we asked the MAIB to release parts of the footage that were not in the public domain.
In reply to our request, the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents sent us the following statement:
“MAIB was only acting as an agent in the 2002 Gaul survey, so does not hold any copy of the videos taken.
I am sorry that we cannot assist further”
So, then, the MAIB were acting as agents in the Gaul formal Investigation.
What kind of agents would that be?