Saturday, June 2, 2012

UAE: Royal Navy Sailor, 27, Disappears in Dubai

A Royal Navy sailor, Timothy Andrew MacColl, 27, who was last seen by his shipmates aboard the HMS Westminster in Dubai on May 27, continues to be missing without explanation. The Westminster, which was on anti-piracy operations in the Gulf, has since departed Dubai.

Ministry of Defense officials, while continuing to conduct an investigation into MacColl's disappearance, cannot explain how or why the young sailor with wife and two children, ages six and four, disappeared. His wife, Rachel, is also expecting the couple's third child in October. An exhaustive search of medical facilities, hospitals, police stations, the British Embassy, etc. has failed to provide any leads.

MacColl was seen leaving the Rock Bottom Bar at the Regent Hotel in the area of Deira, a 15-minute drive from Port Rashid, where HMS Westminster was moored.

COMMENT: Although the UAE has generally been viewed as a potential target for Islamic militants, with its large population of Western expatriates, and bars and hotels selling alcohol, the Emirates have somehow escaped terrorist-related violence.

It is indeed rare for a foreigner to become a victim of foul play abroad and leave no clues or leads whatsoever. The kidnappings of foreigners in the UAE are also rare. Consequently, this report will be updated as new information becomes available.

As I have said numerous times in previous postings, foreigners abroad, regardless of their status, are vulnerable when alone, which is why I encourage all travelers to seek out the company of a friend or colleague whenever possible.