E-Bulletin June 2024

News from National Members


Courdouan Lighthouse

On 24 July five sites in the Arab and Europe regions were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. One such was the Lighthouse of Cordouan at the mouth of the River Gironde on France’s Atlantic coast.

Cordouan Lighthouse rises up on a shallow rocky plateau in a highly exposed and hostile environment. Built in white limestone dressed blocks at the turn of the 16th  and 17th  centuries, it was designed by engineer Louis de Foix and remodelled by engineer Joseph Teulère in the late 18th century.

A masterpiece of maritime signalling, Cordouan’s monumental tower is decorated with pilasters, columns modillions and gargoyles. It embodies the great stages of the architectural and technological history of lighthouses and was built with the ambition of continuing the tradition of famous beacons of antiquity, illustrating the art of building lighthouses in a period of renewed navigation, when beacons played an important role as territorial markers and as instruments of safety. Finally, the increase of its height, in the late 18th century, and the changes to its lantern, attest to the progress of science and technology of the period. Its architectural forms drew inspiration from ancient models, Renaissance Mannerism and the specific architectural language of France’s engineering school: École des Ponts et Chaussées.



Ghana Maritime Authority

As part of an ambitious plan to strengthen Ghana’s position as a maritime leader in West Africa, commercial satellite operator and IALA Industrial Member Sternula has entered a partnership with the Ghana Maritime Authority. With this comes satellite-based VDES to be used for navigational and safety-related purposes in Ghanaian waters – a service that is in increasing demand globally.

As one of Africa’s leading seafaring nations, Ghana is attracting more and more merchant traffic and it has become of governmental interest to integrate new technology to improve safety as well as efficiency of maritime trade and transport along the Ghanaian coast.

At the launch of the project the Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Thomas Alonsi, said: ‘In line with our ambitious goals, (today) we are entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the first Danish satellite operator. This marks the beginning of a new partnership that could lead to the deployment of cutting edge technologies in our maritime domain.

More specific, the Ghana Maritime Authority will be using Sternula’s market e-Navigation connectivity service – a VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) solution – enabling reliable and accurate maritime navigational warnings to seafarers by the local authorities, while enhancing safety in Ghanaian waters.

Recently, the IMO launched an e-Navigation Implementation Plan Strategy in which digital solutions will play a vital role in enhancing maritime activities.

Project coordinator at the Danish Maritime Authority, Christopher Saarnak commented: ‘e-Navigation strategy implementation plan was formalized under IMO several years ago. VDES is a new communications technology and a key element in realizing e-Navigation. It will help both Danish and Ghanaian maritime authorities to interact with ships in our waters for a number of purposes, such as port calls and distribution of critical information without the need for internet on board the ships.’

Omar Frits Eriksson, Deputy Secretary-General, IALA/AISM, added: ‘IALA is working towards harmonization of aids to navigation and helps coastal nations to implement IMO and IALA standards. IALA has been actively working for the standardization of VDES, which we see as a technology that makes it much easier for maritime authorities to claim conformance to such standards.’



Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships, India,

According to the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships, India, The Gazette of India of 31 July published the Marine Aids to Navigation Act, 2021 after it received Presidential Assent.

To quote the introduction to this legislation we learn that this is an Act to provide for the development, maintenance and management of aids to navigation in India; for training and certification of operators of aids to navigation; development of its historical, educational and cultural value; to ensure compliance with the obligation under maritime treaties and international instruments to which India is a party and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

It is interesting to note that there is given a definition of heritage lighthouse, ‘… in addition to their function as aids to navigation or otherwise, for educational, cultural and tourism purposes…

The matter of funding the Service is provided, with a section on marine aids to navigation dues detailing the manner in which they are payable.

This Act repeals the Indian Lighthouse Act of 1927.

Today Indian operates 194 lighthouses, one light vessel, 25 buoys, 64 radar beacons (racons), 23 DGPS stations and 74 Nation AIS (NAIS) facilities on shore stations.

Source: Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships, India

Rapporteur: Paul Ridgway

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