Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Timmy MacColl: HMS Westminster returns to Portsmouth

Leading Seaman Timothy Andrew MacColl
Image caption Timmy MacColl was last seen at the Regent Palace Hotel in Dubai

Colleagues of a missing sailor have paid tribute to him on their return to Portsmouth.

Leading Seaman Timmy MacColl, of Gosport but originally from Killin, Stirlingshire, was last seen in Dubai on a visit by HMS Westminster in May.

The crew left a gap in their ranks as a mark of respect as they lined the upper decks during their homecoming.

"Clearly we are all desperately disappointed that LS MacColl remains missing," Capt Nick Hine said.

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with his family."

Leading Seaman MacColl was last seen at 02:00 local time on 27 May, while on shore leave in Dubai.

'Ongoing investigation'

It is believed crewmates put the father-of-two in a taxi from a hotel bar after a night out on shore leave, but he did not return to the ship.

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."

Image caption HMS Westminster is returning after seven months in the Gulf and Indian Ocean

A Bring Timmy Home campaign has been set up by family and friends who have been raising awareness by placing yellow ribbons around the local area.

A Facebook group has also been set up which has attracted 112,000 people.

Members of Leading Seaman MacColl's family are expected to gather on the harbourside to watch HMS Westminster return.

His wife Rachael is expecting their third child.

Leading Seaman MacColl is described as white, 5ft 8ins tall, of medium build, with short brown hair cropped with a flicked fringe.

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