in happier times: Timmy MacColl, seen here with wife Rachael, was last seen on May 27

DUBAI: After scouring the land for several weeks, searchers looking for missing British sailor Timmy MacColl, 27, have now focused their attention on the sea.

Joining Dubai Police in the search for the first time are 30 British Royal Navy divers trained to detect underwater mines. It’s believed the search is centred on the waters around Port Rashid where Timmy’s ship, the HMS Westminster, was docked.

Leading Seaman Timothy Andrew MacColl alias Timmy got into a cab at 1.40am on May 27 following a night out with fellow sailors at Rock Bottom Café in Bur Dubai. He was headed back to his ship but never reached there.

Fears are now growing that the father of two might have fallen off while trying to board the ship.

Mark Studdart, senior naval officer of the Royal Navy in the UAE, said the British Royal Navy minesweeper HMS Middletown carrying the divers is on a routine visit to Dubai but could assist in the search if required. The ship which arrived here last Wednesday is expected to remain in Port Rashid for two more weeks.

Abeer Abu Gharbiya, Communications Manager, British Embassy in Dubai, said additional diving support could be provided to Dubai Police if requested. “Primacy for the missing person investigation is with the Dubai Police who have mounted an extensive operation to find LS MacColl. The MOD, Royal Navy (including the Royal Navy Police Special Investigation Branch), FCO and British Embassy in Dubai continue to provide as much assistance as we can to the Dubai Police; this would include additional diving support should it be requested,” Abu Gharbiya said in a statement to XPRESS.

According to media reports, MacColl’s mother Sheena, 49, and wife Rachael, 25, who is expecting their third child in October were informed about the search plan by Dubai Police when they visited the city last month.

Rachael’s uncle Neil Cunningham who accompanied them on the visit said they are happy with the investigations. “Rachael and Sheena were afforded an opportunity to meet with the investigating body, the Dubai Police. The head of Dubai Police had a full working knowledge of the investigation to date. 
What stood out from this precious get-together was that the resources, integrity and professionalism of the Dubai Police has been what would be expected from a proud and honourable nation. It is difficult to express in words our thanks to the police and other agencies in Dubai who have conducted a thorough and diligent investigation. Rachael, Sheena and the family are fully supportive of the work conducted by the experienced investigators within the Dubai Police,” Cunningham posted on a Facebook group set up by family and friends of MacColl to support his search.



  • May 17: Timothy Andrew MacColl alias Timmy arrives in Dubai onboard warship HMS Westminster
  • May 19: Calls wife Rachael in UK to wish her a happy sixth wedding anniversary.
  • May 24: Spends the day at Atlantis, plays rugby in Sharjah later in the evening
  • May 26: Visits Ducati Café at Dubai Mall to meet motorsporting hero Nicky Hayden before heading to Rock Bottom Café at 11.50 pm
  • May 27: Boards a cab outside Rock Bottom Café at 1.40 am.