E-Bulletin June 2024

Message from the Secretary-General

We were sorry to learn of the death on 14 August of Mme Christiane Ville, former head of administration at IALA. This was sad news for she was instrumental in the success of IALA over the many years she was part of the organisation, from its origins in 1957 to her retirement in 1991. Even after retirement she kept in touch and will be long remembered for her sound advice.

On 1 July along with the international maritime community we celebrated World Marine Aids to Navigation Day, the third in the series following the good work initiated in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in 2019 and repeated virtually around the globe last year and this.  We retained the same theme from the earlier commemorations: Marine Aids to Navigation-Successful Voyages, Sustainable Planet and a highly successful two-hour webinar was held.

The principal objective of this day was to promote greater awareness of IALA and its work by bringing to the attention of the wider public the role of marine aids to navigation and the significance of IALA’s technical work in enhancing safety of navigation and protection of the environment. I feel we achieved all this.

I have to thank all involved for their very kind collaboration and support with this year’s most successful World Marine Aids to Navigation Day.

The topic of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships or MASS continues to grasp the imagination and after the workshop of late May which attracted more than one hundred participants from twenty-nine countries the topic was presented to the Spanish-speaking members of IALA at the end of June under the able chairmanship of Captain James Crawford of DIRECTEMAR¸ Chile. Forty-three took part and a video record is available. Overall it was found that there is a growing need for IALA standards to facilitate MASS.

Since January a growing number of States have signed the Convention on the International Organization for Marine Aids to Navigation. It is encouraging to note that we are half way through the year of the Convention with three ratifications/acceptances and fourteen signatures received from diplomatic representatives in Paris. This progress surely embodies the respect that the new organisation will have based on the many years of IALA’s growth, maturity and excellence.


Upcoming virtual committee

Preparations are well in hand for virtual Committee meetings in the second half of the year as follows:


Opening Plenary – 16 September 2021

Closing Plenary – 7 October 2021


Opening Plenary – 11 October 2021

Closing Plenary – 29 October 2021


Opening Plenary – 4 October 2021

Closing Plenary – 2 November 2021


Opening Plenary – 15 October 2021

Closing Plenary – 29 October 2021


26 – 27 October 2021


13 – 17 December 2021

Looking ahead we expect to organise the events listed below for the remaining months of 2021. These are most likely to be virtual events as we continue to monitor the current Covid-19 situation:

15 November – 19 November 2021

Workshop on Cyber security in Marine AtoN operations

29 November – 2 December 2021

Workshop on Enhanced Radar Positioning System (ERPS)

Once again I send my thanks for the continued dedication of those who attend these gatherings and for the time that they give to ensure the committees keep working in these unprecedented times.

Finally,  I pay tribute to the efforts of our members during these difficult times with Covid-19 in our midst. They have continued to provide aids to navigation so essential for the safety of marine traffic and the continuous facilitation of the global economy.

Staff of our members have been (and still are) required to attend their normal workplace when responding to outages and maintenance required to keep their services operational. This devotion deserves special mention.

Francis Zachariae, IALA Secretary-General.

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