Meet the Team


Declan MacDonald, Assistant Technical Superintendent

I joined CMAL as a Graduate Naval Architect in 2016 after studying a BEng at the University of Strathclyde in Naval Architecture, and have since progressed to an Assistant Technical Superintendent’s role. My family are from the Isle of Eriskay in the Western Isles, and it has been great helping to shape the vessels to come with input from the locals, sometimes conversing in the native Gaelic tongue, as a fluent Gaelic speaker myself.

I’m one of five members of the vessels team, and we are responsible for the new build programmes, and fulfilling contractual obligations, such as vessel inspections and carrying out upgrade work on our vessels, which are operated by CalMac and Northlink.

Day in the life: We’ve recently completed our summer vessel inspections and are now moving into the drydocking season where every vessel in our fleet heads to dock for maintenance. I’m working across a few major projects, including LNG infrastructure planning. We’re looking at shoreside tanks and the best way to bunker them at Uig and Ardrossan harbours, which requires lots of research and collaboration, and safety considerations are a priority. The exploration of alternative maritime fuels is a big industry topic to find ways to reduce shipping emissions. CMAL is proactive in this area and I also have the chance to work on the HySeas III project. The project is aiming to develop one of the world’s first sea-going vehicle and passenger ferries fuelled by hydrogen. I’m also involved in the concept design for the new Gourock-Dunoon-Kilcreggan vessels.



Bal Lagah, IT Manager

I am an entire department! My role involves delivering and managing all IT services for CMAL’s office, as well as all harbours on the network, ensuring the business has the necessary IT infrastructure in place to work as effectively as possible. Security is a key focus, ensuring company-wide compliance with legislation, such as GDPR.

Day in the life: a few months ago, a day in the life was ensuring all our staff were set-up to work from home at a moment’s notice. Luckily, we were well prepared, and we enabled our systems and equipped team members with the necessary resources. While some of my time is taken up with general IT support for the team, I’m busy on a project to place webcams and weather gauges at all our harbours and link the live feeds to our website. This will allow mariners to check the tides and weather, but also provide the public with access to a live stream at 16 harbour locations.