Board member resigns from Port Authority

editorial image

Stornoway Port Authority confirmed the resignation of another Board member, Donald John Macdonald, after a Board meeting last week.

The statement read: “Following the meeting, Interim Chairman Captain Bert Frater paid tribute to Mr Macdonald’s significant work on behalf of the Port Authority during his time as a Board Member, saying: “Mr Macdonald’s sage advice and experience was of great benefit to the Board and staff alike.”

There has been no word yet from the SPA to address the issues faced by UNISON trade union action that could see works in Stornoway Harbour come to a stop at the start of December, as port workers complete their required annual work contract at the end of this month.

A source at the Port has confirmed that negotiations are ongoing. The works at Stornoway Port need to be completed before the MV Loch Seaforth takes over the Stornoway to Ullapool route.

A source at the port has also confirmed that the MV Pathfinder was discussed at Thursday’s Board meeting, saying: “It’s common knowledge that the boat was bought with full knowledge that works were needed.

“It is a matter of universal concern that the Pathfinder was taken on an eight hour round trip to North Uist that was sanctioned and lead by the Chairman and Chief Executive.”

This incident lead to the resignation of the SPA Chairman, Captain Angus Smith, who reportedly offered his resignation following an alleged interaction that he had with a local engineer regarding works to be done on the Pathfinder.

Sandy Matheson, former board member of the Stornoway Port Authority, has spoken out about the incident involving the Pathfinder’s foundering.

He said: “I believe from my experience of being in the harbour board for the last 47/48 years that it is improper for the chairman to commandeer a boat. Especially a boat known to have the aforementioned defects of the bilge and flood warning system.

“The boat comes home to Stornoway, is moored at its pontoon in Stornoway Harbour and the following morning is found awash.

“The board has a prime duty to be open and honest about what it’s doing.”

Rhoda Grant MSP and David Stewart MSP have suggested meeting with interested stakeholders about the ‘ongoing difficulties at Stornoway Port’ in the coming weeks when they are to visit Lewis.