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Terms of Reference


To continuously improve the marine safety and efficiency of the harbour and its environs for the benefit of all users.

The Group was formed in 2008 (Oban Harbour Management Group) initially by Argyll and Bute Council with representatives of Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd, CalMac Ferries Ltd and Northern Lighthouse board.


  • To work in partnership towards the agreed aim.
  • Bi-monthly meetings of Group Partners with input from other operational users as required.
  • Review recorded marine incidents and act on outcomes.
  • Review and update NRA and implement any mitigating measures identified
  • Consider, evaluate and make recommendations to group partners with respect to the development proposals within Oban Harbour for the benefit of the community and its stakeholders.
  • Engage with local groups, organisations and associations to realise opportunities as they arise and to evaluate fit with the Harbour Management.
  • Provide and manage a forum that allows for engagement and interaction with all harbour users and facilitates communications between the different groups.
  • To implement the most effective SHA solution as agreed by the OBMG that provides the appropriate legal framework to manage the marine activity.


  • The meetings will be organised and recorded by the Oban Bay Harbour Manager
  • An appointed Chair will chair the meetings and be responsible to ensure the TOR are delivered.


  • The performance, functionality and terms of reference of the OBMG will be reviewed annually.
  • The position of the Chair will be reviewed annually and will be formally proposed and seconded. This will be recorded

 Working Methods

  • Meetings will be held every 2 months
  • Agenda and papers will be distributed 7 days in advance of the meeting
  • Minutes / actions to be recorded and distributed to the OBMG members within 10 days, with a view to be finalised within 20 days and published on the website within 30 days
  • There will be an agreed standing agenda with additional items being added on a needs basis
  • Other parties may be invited to attend meetings as and when appropriate

The Oban Bay Management Group has been providing a joint approach to improving navigational safety at Oban since 2007. The group consists of Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), Argyll & Bute Council (A&BC) and Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB), it is supported by CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL). The group regularly consults with stakeholders from the Oban community in all matters.

The OBMG has conducted 3 navigation risk assessments in the last 5 years and taken the lead in updating the Oban Bay Code of Practice which defines best practice to all mariners when operating within Oban Bay. The group is now in the process of creating a wider statutory harbour area for the whole of Oban Bay to ensure the risk areas highlighted in the latest navigation risk assessments can be effectively acted upon in a timely manner.   

Oban Harbour currently consists of 2 statutory harbour authorities. CMAL who operate Railway Pier and South Pier. A&BC who operate North Pier. The OBMG has recommended that one of these harbours is extended to cover the whole of Oban Bay to ensure the safety recommendations made in the navigation risk assessments can be implement in a timely manner. The CMAL board have decided to apply for a harbour revision order to extend the CMAL statutory harbour area. The A&BC Harbour Board approved the progression of the option for CMAL to extend their Statutory Harbour Area on the basis that further investigation is carried out regarding the protection of the Council’s interests.  The application for the harbour revision order is currently in the informal consultation stage and progressing in accordance with the Transport Scotland process.

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Phil Day, NLB, Chair of the OBMG

Director of Operations Northern Lighthouse Board responsible for all Lighthouse and Ship Operations as well as Navigation requirements.  A Master Mariner he spent 18 years in the Merchant Navy rising to the rank of Captain before working as Marine Team Leader at Hound Point Oil Terminal  and joining NLB in 2007.


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Jim Smith, Argyll and Bute Council

Head of Roads and Infrastructure Services




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Ewen MacKerchar, NLB

Ewen Mackerchar joined the Northern Lighthouse Board in 2010 as Marine Operations manager. In 2012 this role also took on the management of the Oban support base. Ewen during his career has worked at sea in the fishing industry and Merchant Navy as a Deck Officer latterly working in Aberdeen for Chevron as part of their ship logistics team



Group Partners are represented by:- 


Ramsay Muirhead, CMAL, Director of Port Infrastructure & Planning

Ramsay was appointed Director of Port Infrastructure & Planning in October 2019. He has over 20 years’ experience in a broad range of engineering disciplines and joined CMAL in 2009 as a Civil Engineer. In 2012, he took up the role of Head of Civil Engineering, responsible for overseeing the delivery of all CMAL harbour maintenance and infrastructure projects. Ramsay is a Chartered Civil Engineer and a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers; a Chartered Manager and Member of the Chartered Management Institute; and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland.


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David McHardie, CMAL Harbour Master

After a 30-year police career, much of which was served in the underwater search and marine units, David McHardie joined Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd as harbour master in January 2012.

While retaining responsibility for conservancy matters the CMAL harbour master does not have direct responsibility or exercise control over management of day-to-day harbour operations as this is contracted out to a CalMac Ferries Ltd whose harbour operator division exercises the harbour master’s powers of direction by virtue of being designated for the purpose in accordance with the authority’s statutory powers.

The harbour master maintains a general overview of CMAL harbours and their operation, and from this position of neutrality retains an appropriate level of independence as designated person under the Port Marine Safety Code to be able to provide assurance directly to the CMAL Board as the Duty Holder that the safety management system is working effectively. Notwithstanding, on infrequent occasions the harbour master will provide support and guidance to CFL’s harbour operations division when required.


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Cameron MacPhail, CalMac Harbours, Head of Harbours

Cameron joined CalMac Ferries Ltd in 2011, working onboard the CFL Small Ferries, before attending college to gain his Master 3000gt Certificate of Competence. His career prior to CalMac included marine operations roles at Clydeport Ltd and Forth Ports Ltd, managing and supervising vessel movements and pilotage at two of the UKs largest Harbour Authorities. Cameron took up post of Head of Ports & Harbours within CalMac Harbour Operations Division in March 2017 and became a full member of the Oban Bay Management Group. 


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Paul Jennings, CalMac Harbours, Oban Bay Harbour Manager

Following 10 years in the Royal Navy as a navigator and First Lieutenant, Paul spent 18 years with the RNLI managing operations in Scotland. He joined CalMac Harbours in February 2017 and has been dedicated to the Oban Bay Management Group.

Tony Bennett, Chair of Oban Stakeholder Group

John MacAlister, Chair of Oban Community Harbour Development Association

Ross Wilson, Vice Chair of Oban Community Harbour Development Association


 Vickie McKenzie, A&BC Oban Harbour Master

Vicki was appointed Oban Harbourmaster for Argyll & Bute Council in 2011 having worked as Assistant Harbourmaster at Forth Ports.  Prior to that she spent many years as skipper on sail training vessels predominately around the west coast of Scotland.