IALA says fond farewell

IALA staff said a fond farewell to four great colleagues who left in December upon the termination of their limited-term consultancy contracts. The Secretary-General hosted a convivial evening with a fine dinner in a St Germain-en-Laye restaurant in honour of Deputy Secretary-General Michael (Mike) Card, World-Wide Academy Vice Dean Stephen Bennett, and Committee Secretaries Seamus Doyle and Wim van der Heijden. Praising their outstanding contributions over a number of years, he said their work had not only been of great benefit to the members but had also strengthened IALA’s profile in the world.

Mike, who chaired the Council’s Policy Advisory Panel, made an invaluable contribution to the overall management of IALA. He led the development of a clearly written forward strategy for IALA including the excellent Strategic Vision and the supporting document setting out in detail IALA’s “Position on the Development of Marine Aids to Navigation Services.” The new, results-focused approach to the four-year work programme of the Technical Committees followed on from this important strategic work.


Stephen almost single-handedly developed the course materials and lectures for the World-Wide Academy and planned and delivered many of its courses. Together with the Dean, Rear Admiral Jean-Charles Leclair, he was instrumental in the successful launch of the Academy in 2012.He prioritized the Academy’s training and capacity-building activities, and he assisted and advised both IALA members and non-members in the developing world. The WWA would not have been the success story it is without his enormous drive and astonishing capacity for work.


Seamus and Wim have managed the vast volumes of documents and correspondence required for the Technical Committees to achieve their objective of developing and keeping up to date the guidance documentation that is used and recognized worldwide. They brought to this work their deep knowledge of both aids to navigation and IALA procedures, ensuring that the Committees could work smoothly. Their unsurpassed efficiency, both individually and as a close team, was also of critical importance to the Committee Chairs, who could rely on them to help ensure proper liaison between the four committees. Their diligence and relentless attention to detail, as well as their willingness always to go that extra mile and do so with a big smile, will be greatly missed.