Government 'inept' in search for missing sailor
16 August 2012
The family of a Royal Navy sailor who went missing in Dubai in late May have said they feel 'let down' after claiming the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office do not provide them with regular updates on the search.
Royal Navy Leading Seaman Timothy MacColl, 27, served as an Above Water Warfare (AWW) specialist on HMS Westminster, but has not been seen since 27 May.
After spending time at a Dubai nightclub on Saturday 26 May, he was put into a taxi by friends at around 2am the next morning. The taxi driver was reportedly paid in advance and told to take MacColl to his ship, but the father of two from Gosport, Hampshire, has not been seen since.
The investigation into Maccoll's whereabouts located the taxi driver in question in early July. The man said that he became lost in Port Rashid, where HMS Westminster was docked, and that MacColl exited the vehicle next to a tea shack as he stopped to ask for directions.
HMS Westminster had been involved in anti-piracy operations of the coast of Somalia before docking in Dubai, but this week returned to the UK, with crew leaving a gap for MacColl as they lined up on deck to enter Portsmouth.
The navy has said his disappearance is not likely to be related to his work.
MacColl's wife, Rachael, has been raising publicity in a bid to locate Timmy, but her grandfather, Jim Cunningham, told newspaper The Scotsman that the MoD and foreign Office had "let the family down pretty poorly".
"There is inaction, complacency, and I would go as far as to say ineptitude on their part," said Cunningham.
"For a start, they need to communicate with the family and say what it is they are doing, what they are trying to do, and what they have achieved so far.
"They have done none of this. We feel like we are being given the brush-off at every turn."
Mrs MacColl's grandmother, Brenda Cunningham, said there had been a "wall of silence" from officials.
A Royal Navy spokesman said: "We remain concerned for his safety and continue to provide support for his family.
"The matter is being treated as a missing person case and the Dubai Police have primacy for the investigation into LS MacColl's disappearance and search.
"The Ministry of Defence and Royal Navy continue to liaise with and provide assistance to the Dubai authorities.
"The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also remains in contact with the Emirati police about their ongoing investigation."
HAVE YOUR SAY
16 August 2012
Just a thought, but could a 25% cut in staff resources have meant that the MOD doesn't have quite as much time for communication as previously? Many sections have been struggling to keep up, having had such massive staff losses in the past year or two.
AlMiles - Bristol, UK
17 August 2012
It's the Royal Navy that is responsible for him, it is the Roayl Navy that mislaid him and the Royal Navy that is the lead (rhyme with seed, not dead) organisation in finding him. The Foreign Office may be acting on his/their behalf, but I'd expect the Royal Navy to be the ones responsible for communicating with family. Unfortunately, perhaps shamefully, the Royal Navy seems, from reportage like this, to be sloping shoulders onto the rest of the MoD, and the FO.
Muddler - UK