Captain Peter Read is excited about the changes to come in Stornoway port as he steps into the role of Harbourmaster.
“There is so much change going on around here,” he said. “There is change in every side of port life – commercial, fishing, leisure – and the clock is ticking rapidly on the requirements for the new passenger ferry coming.
“I think whatever background you come from, there’s nothing that will prepare you for all this!”
Graduating from Glasgow’s Nautical College aged 19, securing his Master Mariner ticket only eight years later, and leaving a successful career with Europe’s elite in the ‘super-yacht’ sector, Captain Read’s background is one of the sea.
Growing up in Sandwick he ‘always had a boat on the shore and a wind-surfboard lying in the garden’.
Now, despite being a youthful 34, the Stornoway Harbourmaster position ticked the boxes to come ashore, as he continued: “It’s a rare job that came along at the right time.
“I wanted to spend more time in the UK, ideally in Stornoway, for family commitments. But to turn your back on the super-yacht world it has to be for something that excites you.”
First on the Harbourmaster’s To-Do list is the rid Stornoway of the ‘eye-sore’ that’s the ‘Monaco’ vessel, presently sunk at the quay end.
“There has been a mass of legal and logistical limitations and restraints, but we hope to have her out of view by the end of October,” he said.
Then it’s onto cleaning up Stornoway port and harbour, as Captain Read continued: “The two things that really grind my gears are oil pollution and garbage pollution, but these are things that wouldn’t be accepted anywhere else, so shouldn’t be accepted here.
“Every body, from fishing boats to commercial vessels to leisure yachts to kids swimming at Cuddy Point, every body has equal right to a clean, safe port; it’s the bare minimum people can expect.”
As with all change however, there will be some disruption – expected by the required alterations to welcome the MV Loch Seaforth next year.
“We want to complete these with minimum disruption and we’re working closely alongside CalMac and other groups,” he reassured.
“This is everybody’s port and we’re here in the service of people and that’s why I’m really excited about making these changes happen smoothly,” Stornoway’s Harbour master continued.
“I’m grateful for all the support and encouragement I’ve had taking over this role from all sides, fishing, commercial, yachts, in my very steep learning curve.
“I’ve been so lucky to have a strong and reliable operations team to keep the port operating smoothly through the transition period as I’m finding my feet. I’m really looking forward to working with the staff and all port users to ensure the harbour development plans are realised to the benefit of everybody in the islands.”