Oban Harbour Partnership to Improve Navigational Safety Continues

02 Nov 2015

October 2015 marks one year since the partnership scheme to improve navigational safety in Oban Harbour began. The scheme was initiated due to the current high level of ferry, commercial and marine leisure activity, the initiatives in place to increase this business and recent high-profile incidents.

Since 29th April this year there has been a Single Point of Contact available by telephone and VHF radio for all navigation and related queries and to provide general advice to mariners. This has been achieved through co-operation between Argyll and Bute Council’s harbour staff at the council owned North Pier and CalMac Ferries’ pier and terminal staff operating at the Railway and South Piers. This new service operates between 08.00 and 01.00 (the following morning).

In addition, the Oban Harbour website has been developed to support harbour operations, provide advice and information to both harbour users and the general public. Importantly, it provides a means to contact the Harbour Master by email.

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Mike Brew, who is responsible for leading the project implementation, commented: “The good progress that has been made over the past year has been greatly helped by the contribution of the stakeholders and the willingness of all of the staff involved. On behalf of all of the project partners I would like to thank them for their attendance at briefings, but above all for their advice and support.”

Lorna Spencer, Director of Harbours, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd, commented: “We are delighted that the hard work and continued engagement with all the stakeholders has delivered progress towards improving navigational safety in Oban Bay and Harbour and we are looking forward to continuing on-going improvements in the harbour environment.”

Councillor Alistair MacDougall, policy lead for transportation, welcomed the news, saying: “The safe and effective operation of Oban Harbour is essential to residents and businesses in and around Oban. The improvement in marine safety in Oban Bay that has been achieved to date through partnership working between council and CalMac staff is very welcome and we are pleased to be a partner in this continuing project.’’

Capt Phil Day, Director of Marine Operations for the Northern Lighthouse Board, commented: “The Northern Lighthouse Board is pleased to be involved in this initiative alongside the other berth operators, and most importantly working with the Oban community to improve safety. Oban harbour and approaches are becoming a busier and more crowded place particularly in Spring and Summer. We are committed to supporting this development whilst ensuring the Safety of the Mariner remains assured.

Alasdair Henderson from CalMac Ferries said: “The growth in commercial and leisure traffic within Oban Harbour is welcomed. It is important that everyone can operate safely in what is now a very busy harbour in summer. The Single Point of Contact created by improved working between CalMac and Council staff is a great step forward.”