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Harbour News – June 2017

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Mallaig Harbour News: June 2017

Cruise Ship Visitations

Two visits by “Le Boreal” – Thursday 18th May and Saturday 3rd June – and one from the “Hebridean Princess” (18th May) kicked off the cruise ship visitation for the summer season.

There are two more to follow.  On Saturday 24th June “Le Soleal” – sister ship of “Le Boreal” – will pay a visit and in the afternoon of Tuesday 11th July the UK based “MV Balmoral” (63 metres in length) will tie up alongside the pier for a short period of time.

Passenger Access

One of the issues raised via the recently published Mallaig Harbour Masterplan is the provision of improved access at the passenger steps.  The Authority is now actively reviewing access from the pier onto the small passenger ferry boats that use the steps and an initial meeting with some of the local businesses that could be affected – directly or indirectly – by any improvement there like say, provision of a walkway/pontoon access replacing the steps, has been held.

Local and Inverie passenger ferry vessels, The Mallaig Boatyard, The Lifeboat and the local Fishing fleet will all be affected – to a greater or lesser degree -with anything that is eventually implemented in that area hence the need for early and continued consultation and consideration..

Mary Manson

This photograph crossed over my desk just the other day.  Taken in the early to mid 60’s when the pier was still owned and operated by British Railways the photo shows the local Ring Net Vessel “Mary Manson” getting “painted up” on Lovat Beach.  It looks as if Old Jim Manson is about to “walk the plank” to get to the “Margaret Ann” OB79.

The three buildings on the left are The Lifeboat Shed, Bruce Watt Cruises and Sandy Reid’s Fish Shop.

Incidentally I remember there being holes in the concrete floor in Reid’s Fish Shop – sea water would gurgle up the holes at high tide flooding the shop floor!

Beluga II

The harbour played host to “Beluga II”, a two masted schooner owned and operated by “Greenpeace” over the weekend of 26th – 29th May, and on the 29th the vessel sailed for Canna.

The “Beluga II” is in the area doing research and collecting data on waste plastic/debris in the Minch.

Harbour News May 2017

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Palm Oil

I start off with a warning posted by the MCA (Maritime Coastguard Agency) and received by the Harbour Authority on Friday 14th April 2017:

“I want to draw your attention to reports received by the MCA over recent months regarding Palm Oil.

The substance normally washes ashore in ‘lumps’ and does range in size and appearance; it also has the potential to cause harm to dogs if they ingest it.

Please remain visual and if you do receive / have any reports then please report back to myself and HM Coastguard through the normal reporting channels.

Lisa McAuliffe

Counter Pollution & Salvage Officer (Wales and West & SCOTNI)


Road & Pier Markings

The white (and yellow) lining of the roads around the pier areas was carried out last month – a pre cursor to the summer tourist season – but what seems to have become a talking point are the double red lines which are now in situ on the road outside the Harbour Office and on the road round by the Industrial Estate.

However there’s nothing sinister or untoward to report its just an indication that you are now crossing over or entering Mallaig Harbour owned land.  Road signs indicating this will be erected soon.

New Regulations

Marine Scotland has issued new regulations which apply from Monday 17th April 2017.  That is when SSI No 57/2017 The Shellfish (Restrictions on taking by unlicensed fishing boats) (Scotland) Order 2017 came into force so if you are a hobby or unlicensed fishermen the following daily catch limits now apply:

  • Crab – Edible; Green; Spider; Velvet  – 5 of any combination
  • Lobster –  1
  • Nephrops – 10
  • Scallop –  King; Queen –  6 of any combination


The Norwegian salmon well boat “Oysund” – on contract to Marine Harvest – replaced the Ronja Challenger for a spell last month with her initial visit to Mallaig Harbour being on Friday 21st April 2017.

The vital statistics of the 3 year old Oysund are 69.9m length; 12m breadth; 5.1m draught.


Robert MacMillan


Harbour News – March 2017

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Fish Quay

Contractors Gareloch Support Services (GSS) have now completed all scheduled works on the Mallaig Fish Quay.  Repairs to walings, ladders and the wooden piling have all taken place in the £450,000 contract.

Jarys Wharf

GSS have also been requested to insert two new wooden piles and a new ladder at the “Spanish John” berth on Jary’s Wharf and this is currently being carried out.  Completion date in early March.

Outer Harbour

Local divers have been busy in the Outer Basin clearing some debris/rocks that have accumulated on the seabed over the past few months.

Loch Fyne

MV Loch Fyne is set to arrive in Mallaig on Friday 3rd March in order to take up the Mallaig-Armadale ferry run as scheduled on Friday 31st March – the commencement date of the 2017 summer season.


Robert MacMillan


01687 462154

News on Masterplan

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Pictured at a meeting in the Mallaig Harbour Authority Office on Wednesday 25th January 2017 are, left to right, Chris Fisher, Fisher Associates; Charles King, Chairman of the Authority; and Neil Rutherford, Scottish Futures Trust.


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The main topic of the meeting was to move forward with shaping the business case for the recently completed Mallaig Harbour Masterplan which can be viewed by clicking on the word Masterplan on the Menu above.

Harbour News – January 2017

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In what was considered to be the best sprat fishery for several years the four local trawlers who prosecuted the fishery – Caralisa, Independence, Mareather and Rebecca Jeneen – ceased trawling mid December having landed over 2,000 tonne of sprats and 5 tonnes of herring.


Dutch Sailor

A yachtsman from the Netherlands recently contacted the Authority commenting on the shower/laundry facilities in the Marina Centre.  Whilst impressed by the new facilities Mr A A M van den Brink offered some suggestions to improve said facilities which we, or course, will evaluate and implement if possible.

It is always nice to receive praise but it is equally important that we receive constructive suggestions and ideas – it helps us improve and keeps us on our toes!

So on a general note, if anyone has any issue regarding the Harbour and the services we provide you can contact me or the Harbour Master via the following email address:

Mr van den Brink sent on this photograph with comment “Last summer we were two times in your harbour where we enjoyed the village and also met with the sea dogs –



Robert MacMillan


01687 462154

Harbour News – December 2016

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Ferry News

The MV Lord of The Isles was one week late in returning from dry dock so was due to re-commence on the Lochboisdale to Mallaig winter service (3 crossings per week) on Wednesday 7th December 2016.  Unfortunately bad weather meant the crossing did not take place.

The South Uist/Mallaig connection is due to continue each Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday throughout the winter.  The final run of the winter schedule being on Wednesday 29th March 2017.

There will of course be no sailings on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

However at time of going to press CalMac have not yet revealed the timetable or the vessels they will deploy on next summer’s Mallaig – Armadale Service.

Harbour Chairman C. King and CEO R. MacMillan questioned Humza Yousaf MSP Minister for Transport and the Islands, whilst attending a Transport Forum in Corpach organised by the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce.  He was fully aware of the issues surrounding the Skye Ferry Service and admitted the situation needed to improve for 2017.

Loch Fyne

The 54 metre ferry Loch Fyne arrived at the port on Sunday 4th December for several days of trials and tests with regard to docking at the Mallaig Linkspan.  The carrying capacity of the Loch Fyne is in the region of 36 vehicles!


It’s been a most successful sprat season (so far) for the four local boats that are prosecuting the fishery with landings exceeding those of the 2015 season.

As at 30th November the Rebecca Jeneen (OB38); Caralisa (OB956); Independence (OB196); and Mareather – formerly the Aubretia –  (OB503) have landed in excess of 1300 tonnes of sprats compared to 1000 tonnes for the same period last year.


Fisher Associates were appointed in March 2016 to develop a masterplan for Mallaig Harbour. The fundamental purpose of the masterplan is to provide a structured framework for the physical development and transformation of Mallaig Harbour over the next 20 years. It will enable Mallaig Harbour Authority to make informed decisions to meet changing markets, grow new markets, and safeguard the Harbour as an essential economic driver and community asset for future generations.

Mallaig Harbour Authority carried out a public consultation exercise in September 2016 to give residents and businesses an opportunity to find out more about the masterplan and to express their views. Following an overwhelmingly positive response, the masterplan is now being finalised, taking on board the comments and views expressed during the consultation. It is envisaged that the final masterplan will be published early in 2017.


Harbour Chairman Charlie King, Board Members and staff send Christmas & New Year greetings to all Harbour Users.


Robert MacMillan



Harbour News – November 2016

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Lord of The Isles

The LOTI is now on its winter service between Lochboisdale and Mallaig with crossing of The Minch occurring on only three days a week:  Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays.  However the vessel will be absent from duty from 8th November to the 27th November as she is in dock for her annual refit.

During this time there will be no replacement vessel on the Lochboisdale to Mallaig run but a Lochboisdale to Oban service will operate everyday of the week except Tuesdays and Thursdays.

From Monday 28th November 2016 (LOTI’s scheduled recommencement on the route) through to Tuesday 30th March 2017 the following timetable will operate:

    Depart                       Arrive                        Dep                                  Arrive

Lochboisdale               Mallaig                    Mallaig                        Lochboisdale

Wednesday                       07.15                       10.45                         14.00                                 17.40

Saturday                            07.15                       10.45                         14.00                                 17.30

Sunday                              07.15                       10.45                         13.30                                 17.00

At the time of writing CalMac have given no indication what the frequency of the 2017 summer service will be or what vessels will operate either on the Lochboisdale to Mallaig run or the Mallaig – Armadale route.



Following the consultation period, drop-in sessions and public meeting, work is progressing on the production and finalisation of the Mallaig Harbour Masterplan.

The information gathered as a result of the aforementioned consultation is currently being assessed and further discussions with CalMac have been scheduled to ensure their future ferry requirements will be met via the new Masterplan.


Marine Protected Area

I list below the Authority’s response to the consultation process re the controversial plan for the

Small Isles Marine Protected Area:

“I would like to express views on the Small Isles Marine Protected Area on behalf of the Mallaig Harbour Authority.

Whilst the Mallaig Harbour Authority supports in principle the protection of vulnerable species that are listed within the OSPAR regulations you will not be surprised to learn that we support another vulnerable species, our local fishermen, and their legitimate and continued right to fish the waters of the Minch as they have done for generations.

Fishing brought prosperity to Mallaig and despite all the restrictions that have been placed upon the industry over the past twenty- thirty years or so it continues to bring financial benefit not only to the harbour but also the whole community.

Landings of fish/prawns at Mallaig is currently in the region of £9m per annum and this impacts financially on many of the industries in Mallaig not just the Harbour!

We are also concerned about the ongoing safety to the fishermen.  If precluded from a safe winter fishery by the upcoming legislation, to maintain income it is clear that the boats will have to fish elsewhere.  Elsewhere being other fishing grounds more exposed to the elements.

Survival of what’s left of the local fishing industry is of paramount importance to places like Mallaig and it is therefore extremely important that cognisance is taken of the fishermen’s own wish to survive.

No one is anti the introduction of MPA’s but the implementation of an MPA must surely be one that can co exist and complement the fishing industry.”


Robert MacMillan


Harbour News – September 2016

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BPA Retiral

After 25 years at the helm of the British Ports Association Director David Whitehead OBE has opted for a September retiral and is pictured here being presented with a celebratory bottle of Mallaig Harbour Water by Mallaig Harbour Authority CEO Robert MacMillan.  The occasion was a recent Scottish Ports Committee Meeting in Inverness.

David joined the port industry in 1990 as Director of Policy of the British Ports Federation and subsequently became Director of The British Ports Association.  He was awarded the OBE in 2011 for services to the ports industry.

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Pier Works

As can be seen on the Harbour web-site a Notice to Mariners was issued by The Authority on 24th August 2016 (it can be viewed in this edition of West Word) stating that remedial work has commenced on the fish quay landing berths by contractor Gairloch Support Services (GSS).

New piling, piling repairs and the replacement of the lower set of walings is due to take place along the length of the fish pier and will be carried out in sections in order to keep disruption to the fishing fleet to a minimum.

Replacement of the lower set of walings will involve a dive team so great care needs to be exercised by  sea going harbour users throughout the term of the contract.

Contractors GSS hope to have all works completed by early December 2016.

Engineers Wallace Stone will be overseeing the construction works on behalf of the Authority.


Earlier this year, in March 2016 to be exact, the Authority commissioned Fisher Associates to develop a Masterplan for Mallaig Harbour the purpose of which is to provide a structured framework for the development of Mallaig Harbour over the next 10 – 15 years.

Key Harbour Stakeholders, Authority Board Members and officials, Highland Council Planning,  Nevis Estate and Environmentalists etc have all been consulted so now is the opportunity for local villagers to be involved and have their say in the development process of the Masterplan.

You are therefore invited to attend the Masterplan Drop-in Sessions being held in the Mallaig & Morar Community Centre on Thursday 15th September (10.30am – 12.30pm; 2pm – 4pm; 6pm – 8pm) and Friday 16th September (10.30am – 12.30pm).

An Open/Public Meeting is also being held in the Community Centre on Friday 16th September at 2pm.

Your views/thoughts/ideas are welcomed.