E-Bulletin December 2023

Message from SG

I have been very pleased – and indeed amazed – about the enthusiastic initiatives of members around the world to celebrate the first World Marine Aids to Navigation (WAtoN) Day on 1 July. Events organized worldwide are an excellent way to make IALA’s technical achievements [for the safe and efficient movement of vessels and the protection of the environment through improving and harmonizing Marine Aids to Navigation worldwide] more visible to the wider public.

It has been a true privilege to accept the invitation extended to me and the entire staff of the IALA Secretariat by IALA former President, Mr Juan Francisco Rebollo, to participate in the splendid programme organized by the Balearic Port Authority in Palma de Mallorca, under the auspices of Spain’s Puertos del Estado. The choice of technical presentations and the visit to the museum of the 17th century lighthouse Porto Pí perfectly honour the WAtoN Day spirit.

I invite readers to check out our dedicated webpage ( The council decided at its last session to keep the same theme for next year.

Meanwhile, the Council was kept very busy at its June session, which took place in the Port of Rotterdam, on board the historic ocean liner SS Rotterdam. Counsellors approved new technical documents and reviewed World-Wide Academy developments, and much more. They also enjoyed the opportunity of a technical visit to the Port of Rotterdam and the Botlek VTS Centre, which, together with the Hook of Holland VTS Centre, continuously monitors and provides information about shipping traffic in and around one of the world’s busiest ports.

The Rotterdam meeting was also an excellent opportunity for me to liaise with our National member about the impressive preparations for the combined Symposium on Vessel Traffic Services and e-Navigation that will take place in Rotterdam from 25 to 29 May next year. The deadline for the submission of presentation proposals on the chosen theme of “Enhanced Maritime Safety and Connectivity” is now closed and the finalized speakers’ programme will be published on the official website (, after the selection of presentations has been made by the Symposium Steering Committee in September. Registration for attendance will be available online via the IALA website (

The Symposium will serve as an important international platform to discuss among experts the shore-based elements of maritime digital connectivity and the harmonization of maritime services including standardised data models and communication channels for digital information exchange between shore entities and ships. It will also encourage broader maritime industry awareness of the work done by the VTS Committee on the revision of the International Maritime Organization’s Guidelines for Vessel Traffic Services (IMO Assembly resolution A.857(20)), with a presentation on the results of the recent two-day seminar held in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on 26 and 27 June. The draft revised text of the Guidelines was intensively discussed at this seminar, with keen participation of key maritime stakeholders. It is vital that the Guidelines continue to be an effective instrument by providing a clear framework to establish and maintain vessel traffic services globally in a harmonized manner.

It is a year since the General Assembly, at its 13th session held in Incheon, approved a first suite of seven IALA Standards. The World-Wide Academy is committed to advising coastal States on the delivery of marine aids to navigation services in accordance with the Standards including their normative and informative elements. Their implementation by all coastal states will harmonize marine aids to navigation worldwide. In this regard, I draw attention to the recent technical needs assessment mission conducted by the Academy in the Republic of Gambia and which structured recommendations taking account of the Standards, as appropriate, and proportionate to the needs of that country.

I encourage all members to publicize the Academy’s distance learning programme. It enables interested parties to complete online the three modules required to achieve qualification as an international IALA Level 1.1 Marine Aids to Navigation Manager. Start dates are flexible throughout the year. More information is available from Mr Kevin Gregory, Education and Development Manager (


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