Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is the Statutory Harbour Authority for 32 harbours in the Western Isles, and the owner and operator for 51 pier, jetty and slipway facilities. The Comhairle’s port and harbour facilities are spread throughout the Outer Hebrides, many of which are located in areas with sparse populations, resulting in low numbers of harbour users.
These ports and harbours are generally unmanned during normal operations and are attended by Comhairle marine staff on a scheduled basis, and in response to specific harbour user information and requests.
Recognising that it is good practice to regularly review operations, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar commissioned ABPmer to appraise its current arrangements for discharging its duties as a Statutory Harbour Authority.
ABPmer’s dedicated maritime team has in-depth knowledge and a wealth of practical application of the various standards and expectations laid down in port and harbour authority codes such as the Department for Transport’s ‘Port Marine Safety Code’ (the Code) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ‘Safety in Docks’ Approved Code of Practice.
To undertake the review, our specialists conducted a governance review and marine services evaluation with members of the Comhairle’s marine team, port management and elected Council Members.
The review also included the creation of a Marine Safety Management System as required by the Code. The MSMS was written following a review of the Council's marine operations with the study team visiting harbour operations at Lochmaddy, Tarbert, Berneray and Leverburgh. This document and its supporting Standard Operating Procedures were provided to the Harbour Authority as an output from the technical work.
The review concluded 28 recommendations concerning Harbour Authority governance, safety and marine service provision.
ABPmer presented the findings from the review to the Comhairle’s Harbour Board in a Council meeting held in Stornoway.