E-Bulletin June 2024

Message from IALA Secretary-General Francis Zachariae

I am very pleased that the First Preparatory Diplomatic Conference held in Paris on 18 and 19 April was successful in taking an important, concrete step towards achieving IALA’s change of status to that of an intergovernmental organization (IGO).

Agreement was reached on a Roadmap towards a full-fledged Diplomatic Conference to adopt the new IALA Convention. A follow-up preparatory conference will take place in the early part of next year; details will be posted on the IALA website in due course. Its aim will be to commence multilateral negotiations on the provisions of the draft IALA Convention and the draft General Regulations that will govern the future IALA as an IGO. National Members have the opportunity to submit written comments on these two key documents until the end of September, via e-mail to They can find all the relevant background information, briefings, reports and input papers on the dedicated website .

Convened by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, as IALA’s host country, and chaired by France’s Ambassador for the Oceans, Mr Serge Ségura, the high-level Paris Conference benefited from a large attendance by government delegations from 56 countries where IALA has National Members (IALA has 84 National Members at present). The Industrial Members Committee also provided its support to the Conference and made a presentation. Participants totaled 173 and representatives of IALA’s partner international organizations were also present. The Secretary-Generals of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) both made a presentation and stressed the importance of the IALA-IHO-IMO ‘trinity of excellence’ for world maritime safety and global harmonization of standards.

Meanwhile, the Spring sessions of all four Committees took place at IALA Headquarters during March and in USA in April, with the usual keen attendance and keeping the small Secretariat staff very busy. Delegates were able to make full use of the smart IT and video-conferencing facilities, and they enjoyed the newly refurbished headquarters. The Committee’s highly technical work continues to be vital for achieving the harmonization goal of IALA. It is also good to see that publications like the NAVGUIDE and the IALA Dictionary are kept under close review.

Also with regard to the harmonization goal of IALA, I wish to highlight the renewed interest at the IMO in reactivating the joint IMO-IHO Harmonisation Group on Data Modelling (HGDM). A recommendation to this effect by the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications, and Search and Rescue (NCSR 4, 6-10 March 2017) will be on the agenda of next month’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 98, 7-16 June 2017). It is envisaged that an important item of work for this Group will be the development of a common maritime data structure, which will have implications for the work of the ENAV Committee with regard to e-navigation services (the so-called Maritime Service Portfolios) and the harmonization of the IHO’s S-100 registry.

I trust that this third edition of the IALA e-Bulletin will be of interest to all Members, who, as always, are welcome to submit articles for future editions and post advertisements of their products or services related to maritime aids to navigation.

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