E-Bulletin December 2023

Message from the Secretary-General

I am very pleased that a modernized, clear and harmonized framework for the effective operation of Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) into the future is ready for wider consultation and eventual adoption by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The VTS Committee, late last month (September 2019), unanimously endorsed the results of its comprehensive revision work on the Guidelines for VTS – IMO Resolution A.857(20).

The draft revised Guidelines will greatly facilitate the follow-up work the IMO will commence next January (2020). The aim is to adopt a new IMO Assembly resolution in 2021. Although a resolution cannot be legally binding, it provides an authoritative source for a common understanding of the role and the scope of VTS systems and the responsibilities of VTS authorities. Furthermore, the revised Guidelines will supersede those annexed to resolution A.857(20), and which are referenced in the International Convention for the Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS Regulation V/12).

There will be a further opportunity for members to discuss the collaborative work with the IMO during the 14th IALA Symposium in Rotterdam in May next year. The Symposium, on the theme of “Enhanced Maritime Safety and Connectivity”, for the first time will combine the topics of VTS and e-navigation in a packed five-day programme that will include the popular Industrial members’ exhibition and technical visits to Dutch maritime centres. Registration for attendance will be open from mid-November via the official website Sponsors are invited to contact the organizers via e-mail

I continue to be impressed by the global uptake of IALA courses, through the activities of the WWA. The professionalism and motivation of so many people in different parts of the world is really outstanding. These activities are a vital element of our Strategic Vision for 2026 concerning the establishment of a global, harmonized network of Marine Aids to Navigation (AtoN) to which all coastal States contribute. Also in this context, and as stated in my letter dated 20th September, I invite National members and Government Points of Contact to attend the WWA Seminar on Safety of Navigation – and the related implementation of the IALA Standards – which is planned for 24 February 2020. This is the day before the Diplomatic Conference (25-28 February) to consider the draft Convention that will govern the future IALA as an Intergovernmental Organization. Online registration is available via the website

Recent “success stories” of the Academy include the Marine AtoN Manager course conducted for the first time by the Pacific Community in Fiji. Earlier this month, IALA signed an agreement on AtoN managers’ training with the Escuela Naval Almirante Padilla (ENAP) in Cartagena, Colombia. This is an important development as it is the first IALA Accredited Training Organisation providing training in the Spanish language for the region. The first Level 1 AtoN Manager Course is scheduled to take place next year. ENAP will also host the training seminar on the use of the IALA Risk Management Toolbox next month (November 2020). Meanwhile, the Maritime Authority of Suriname will stage an IALA Level 1.1 Marine AtoN Manager course later this month (14 October-6 November), when participants will also be introduced to the first IALA Lecturer Development programme.

This year marks the fifth year of fruitful cooperation between IALA and the China Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) on AtoN training, and a course programme for 2020 is already being planned. A four-week Level 1.1 Marine AtoN Manager course was conducted at the China MSA this Summer, with 20 participants taking part. On top of that, the Level 1.2 Master of Marine AtoN Management course was held also at the China MSA, with 24 participants. This was the first time this high-level course had been held away from IALA Headquarters. The course targets senior management personnel and was approved by the Council last December (2018), following the successful trialling of a pilot course in St Germain-en-Laye that same month.

I encourage all members to keep a lookout for the AtoN and VTS training opportunities available from the WWA. They are all listed on the website and It is worth noting that the Academy links in closely with the gender equality goal of the United Nations (Sustainable Development Goal 5) and with the IMO’s gender programme, by encouraging the participation in technical training by women in the maritime sector.

I draw attention to the Workshop on the Future of Marine Radio Beacons DGNSS that will take place in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK from 27 to 31 January 2020. Marine radio beacons have played a major role in Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) provision around coasts. Advances in technology have meant that radionavigation systems’ signals provide long-range transmissions from a network of terrestrial and satellite stations, ensuring consistency throughout a ship’s voyage to the benefit of enhanced safety of navigation as well as operational efficiency. The Council, at its June session, held a substantive discussion on resilient ship positioning, navigation and timing, which remains a major strategic concern. In this context, it recognized that many national authorities face urgent decisions regarding the upgrade of their DGNSS/DGPS stations.



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