News & Events


Meeting of the Industrial Members Committee

The Industrial Members Committee (IMC) met in Rio de Janeiro 29th April to 2nd May 2019.

The main purpose was to begin the planning for the Conference to be held in Rio in May/June 2022. The IMC is among other things responsible for the Industrial members exhibition and the traditional IMC evening.

During the meeting we were honored to be invited by the National member of IALA Vice-Admiral Antonio Fernando Garcez Faria at his HQ for Hydrography and Navigation with the presence of Fleet Admiral Leonardo Puntel, Director-General of Navigation.

A very successful visit and promising for a memorable 20th Conference in Rio de Janeiro in 2022.

Seminar on the Revision of the IMO Resolution for Vessel Traffic Services

IALA will be hosting a Seminar on the Revision of the IMO Resolution A.857(20)  for Vessel Traffic Services from  26 to 27 June 2019 at IALA Headquarters, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France.

The purpose of the Seminar is to:

  • Inform stakeholders about the revised Resolution being prepared by the VTS Committee for submission to NCSR7 for consideration in completing the revision of the Guidelines for vessel traffic services (Resolution A.857(20));
  • Provide the opportunity to broaden engagement in preparing a revised Resolution, particularly with IMO Member States and international organizations who may not have been involved in the preparation of the submission of a new output proposal (MSC 99/20/3); and
  • Ensure stakeholder views are considered in the draft revision to be submitted to NCSR 7.

To register, please download the flyer here or follow this link:

PRESS RELEASE – IALA is on its way to Intergovernmental status

Saint-Germain-en-Laye, 20th March 2019 The International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), which has National members in 82 coastal States around the world, will call a Diplomatic Conference in early 2020 to adopt a new legal framework on its transition from an international non-governmental association to an Intergovernmental Organization (IGO).  The Government of Malaysia will host the Conference.

The “Convention on the International Organization for Marine Aids to Navigation” will have the status of an international treaty instrument. Upon its adoption, it will be deposited with the United Nations (UN) by the Organization’s host nation, the French Republic, and open to signature by all UN members. It will enter into force upon fulfilment of the ratification requirements as agreed by the Diplomatic Conference.

Thanks to the positive engagement of close to 200 National members and government delegates – representing IALA’s global reach in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North and South America – most of the outstanding drafting work on the Convention text has been successfully completed. Addressing the closing session of the Third Preparatory Diplomatic Conference, hosted by the Directorate-General for Coastal Safety of the Republic of Turkey in Istanbul from 12 to 14 March, IALA Secretary-General Francis Zachariae said that the draft Convention was now ‘’near-perfect’’.

From the total of 21 draft Articles 17 were completed and agreed. The remaining four concern matters of a political nature and will require further discussion and final decision-making by the Diplomatic Conference. They concern the entry into force requirements, amendment procedures, membership matters, and the choice of official languages to be used by the IGO.

Most of the drafting work on the transitional arrangements was also completed, leaving only some aspects to be finalized by the Diplomatic Conference. The transitional arrangements are of critical importance to ensuring the continued efficiency of IALA’s technical work. They are also designed to safeguard the membership of the current IALA in the initial period of the new IGO.

Praising ‘’the mutual understanding’’ and ‘’atmosphere of confidence’’, the conference chair, His Excellency Ambassador Serge Ségura, French Ambassador for the Oceans, concluded that the draft Convention text was ‘’ready to reach the diplomatic conference.’’

While marking a major milestone in the life of IALA, the change of status will not, in any way, change its consultative and technical nature and its principal aim will stay the same: to foster the safe and efficient movement of vessels through improvement and harmonization of marine aids to navigation for the benefit of the maritime community and the protection of the marine environment.

The Istanbul Conference benefited from years of detailed drafting work by the Legal Advisory Panel of the IALA Council followed by two rounds of multilateral discussions held in Paris in 2017 and in Marrakesh in 2018.

L’AISM en route pour son changement de statut

La conférence diplomatique pour l’adoption officielle de la convention qui gouvernera l’AISM en tant qu’organisation inter-gouvernementale aura lieu en 2020 et sera accueillie par le gouvernement malaysien. Lors de la clôture de la troisième conférence diplomatique préparatoire, superbement organisée par la Direction générale de la sécurité côtière de la République de Turquie à Istanbul, le Secrétaire général de l’AISM, Monsieur Francis Zachariae a déclaré que le projet de convention était maintenant quasiment parfait. Sur un total de 21 articles en cours d’élaboration, 17 ont été finalisés et entérinés. Les 4 restants incluent des sujets de nature politique et requièrent des discussions plus poussées avant que les décisions finales soient prises par la conférence diplomatique. Ceux-ci concernent les dispositions d’entrée en vigueur, les procédures de modification, les membres et le choix de la langue officielle, ou des langues officielles. L’état d’esprit positif des quelques 200 participants qui a marqué la conférence d’Istanbul signifie que l’incroyable travail de préparation du projet de convention pourra être terminé dans la limite du temps imparti. Louant la compréhension mutuelle et l’atmosphère de confiance qui régnaient, le président de la conférence, Son Excellence l’ambassadeur pour les océans, a conclu que le projet de texte était « prêt pour l’étape de la conférence diplomatique ». La conférence d’Istanbul a bénéficié du résultat de plusieurs années de travail en profondeur mené par le Comité juridique consultatif et le Conseil de l’AISM, ainsi que de deux sessions de discussions à Paris en 2017 et à Marrakech en 2018.


Preparatory work

Multilateral negotiations on the draft Convention commenced at the First Preparatory Diplomatic Conference, hosted by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development in Paris in April 2017, and were continued at the Second Preparatory Diplomatic Conference, hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco in Marrakesh in February 2018.

These discussions built on the significant amount of drafting work done by the Legal Advisory Panel (LAP) of the IALA Council and this ensured tremendous progress in the draft text and also improved its quality.

Thus, the results of both the Paris and Marrakesh Conferences were amalgamated in new, consolidated draft texts that also took account of comments submitted by National members and Government representatives in the aftermath of those Conferences. At the fourth extraordinary session of LAP, held at IALA Headquarters in November 2018 and attended by 28 legal experts from 17 countries, the draft Convention text reached a promising mature state. Participants were thus able to focus on the remaining legal issues arising from the updated revised text, made comments and amended it, as appropriate. They also identified – but did not dıscuss – matters of a political nature as these fall within the purview of the planned Diplomatıc Conference. This preparatory work then led to the successful outcome of the Third Preparatory Diplomatic Conference, held in Istanbul from 12 to 14 March 2019.

Draft Convention – Agreed key provisions 

Broadly, the 17 Articles of the draft Convention which were completed and agreed at the Istanbul Conference address the establishment of the Organization (Article 1), its aim and objectives (Article 2), and its functions (Article 3). The objectives now include a specific reference to fostering the ‘’environmentally sustainable’’ as well as safe and efficient movement of vessels.

Continued membership is assured for existing Industrial and Associate members under the new category of Affiliate members. Like the Association, the Organization will thus be open to wide participation by marine aids to navigation equipment manufacturers and distributors and other relevant technical and scientific entities.

The draft Articles addressing the structure and organs of the new Organization are designed to balance the competencies of the General Assembly and the Council, and those of the Committees and the Council. However, certain existing Council functions will be transferred to the General Assembly of the IGO. There are also draft Articles on subsidiary bodies and on the Secretariat.

The Istanbul Conference further agreed voting procedures and the completed draft Article concerned also covers the election of the President, Vice-President, Secretary-General and Council members.

Agreement was also reached on the important matter of financial expenditure and resources for the functioning of the Organization.

Draft final clauses were also completed and agreed. They cover such matters as the Organization’s legal personality, privileges and immunities, and the legal obligations of member States to make every effort to prevent disputes – including those related to the interpretation or application of the Convention – and to use their best efforts to resolve any disputes by amicable means.

Diplomatic Conference

The Diplomatic Conference scheduled for early 2020 will involve a certain amount of protocol and the necessary adoption of a Final Act, which Government representatives will be invited to sign on behalf of their respective Governments. Formal signature will pave the way for the commencement of the required procedures in their home countries to prepare for national ratification of the adopted Convention.

The French Republic, which will continue to be the host nation, will serve as the Depositary for the Convention and will register it with the United Nations (UN). This will ensure that the Convention will be open for signature by all UN member States, in accordance with the decision of the XIIth IALA General Assembly held in A Coruña, Spain five years ago, as set out in Resolution A12-01 of 27 May 2014.

Following the adoption of this Resolution, which states explicitly that ‘’international intergovernmental status will best facilitate IALA’s aims into the future’’, the Constitution of IALA (Article 13) was amended to facilitate the winding up of the Association and the transfer of its assets to the Organization.

Once the Convention’s entry-into-force requirements will have been fulfilled and its provisions will have taken legal effect, IALA will become the International Organization for Marine Aids to Navigation. The Organization will have the same, consultative and technical nature as IALA. Its mission and aims will also stay the same – i.e. developing, improving and harmonizing marine aids to navigation to enhance safe navigation and for the benefit of the maritime community and the protection of the marine environment.

Transitional arrangements

Prior to the effective establishment of the IGO, transitional arrangements will ensure a smooth transition so that the activities of IALA and its technical work will continue uninterrupted, and its responsibilities towards the maritime community will be undiminished and maintained with the customary high level of commitment.

General Regulations

General Regulations for the day-to-day operations of the new IGO have also been developed and include the Financial Regulations. They will be finalized and decided upon by the first General Assembly of the IGO, when established.

The draft Convention stipulates that the General Regulations are subject to the provisions of the Convention and where there is a conflict the Convention will take precedence.

Partnership with other IGOs

The IGO will continue to collaborate closely with and support the work of the current IALA’s partner international organizations, in particular the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). This international cooperation will also involve continued engagement with the UN’s ‘’Delivering as One’’ policy designed to avoid duplication of work and optimizing limited resources. ‘’Delivering as One’’ is also critical to the continued ability of the World-Wide Academy to meet the growing demand from developing countries around the world for its capacity building and training activities.


Notes for Editors:

Origin and membership of IALA

The International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) was established in Paris in 1957 as a consultative, technical and not-for-profit organization with the aim to share maritime knowledge and work together for safe navigation.

Guided by the motto “Successful voyages, Sustainable Planet”, its mission is to ensure the provision of effective and harmonized marine aids to navigation (AtoN) systems and services worldwide. Its membership embraces both national competent authorities (AtoN providers) and stakeholders from the equipment industry (AtoN suppliers), such as AtoN manufacturers and distributors, and technical advisory services, scientific agencies and other concerned entities.

The inaugural IALA World Marine Aids to Navigation Day will be celebrated on 1 July (2019). The intention is to attract greater awareness of the significance of IALA among the wider maritime community and the general public and to encourage interest from the younger generation in the technically advanced work of IALA. Its chosen theme is “Marine Aids to Navigation: Successful Voyages, Sustainable Planet”. All members and other stakeholders concerned are invited to hold special events. In addition to highlighting exciting AtoN developments these may also showcase the engineering, cultural and social-economic aspects of lighthouse heritage conservation programmes.

IALA and best practice

The IALA Maritime Buoyage System is universally recognized and implemented. When it was established in 1980, it superseded the approximately thirty disparate systems that existed around the world in the 1970s. It is referenced in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS regulation V/13).

The IALA NAVGUIDE is the bible on AtoN design and operation. The digital version of the latest edition (2018) is available, free of charge, from the IALA website. (

The IALA Recommendations and Guidelines are internationally recognized and widely followed and are free to download from the IALA website ( They are not mandatory in the legal sense, but they do represent generally accepted best practice. They are developed and maintained by the four IALA Committees, which each cover a particular technical domain – ranging from AtoN design, engineering, sustainability and management to vessel traffic services, e-navigation, communications and shore-based maritime information services.

The Committees are the ‘power house’ of IALA and benefit greatly from the high-quality input of IALA’s Industrial members. The cohesion between AtoN suppliers and AtoN providers is a unique feature of IALA and invaluable for the continued relevance of its technical work.

In June 2018, the XIIIth IALA General Assembly, held in Incheon, Republic of Korea, approved a first set of seven IALA Standards. These are a vital aspect of the IALA Strategic Goal that coastal States should contribute to a harmonised global network of AtoN by 2026. They are not legally binding. However, they provide high-level, overarching references to the principal technical domains covered by the Recommendations and Guidelines and IALA will encourage their implementation through capacity-building and training support.

The IALA World-Wide Academy

The IALA World-Wide Academy (WWA) became operational in January 2012. Its principal aim is to engage in capacity building and training for the establishment of AtoN networks in targeted developing countries who need cadres of competent personnel to support the development of their maritime economy. Furthermore, as coastal State signatories to the International Convention for the Safety Of Life At Sea, they are required to meet their legal obligations to provide the AtoN that seafarers need.

The WWA has been an undeniable success story in the short period of its existence – as demonstrated by the reduction in targeted coastal States. To date, the Academy has granted accreditation to 17 AtoN training organizations and 32 VTS training organizations in key maritime regions of the world, and Africa is now fast becoming a high priority. There are also promising opportunities in long-distance learning and the Academy is planning to develop digital platforms for this purpose. This will also help to accelerate the pace of training worldwide in response to continued growing demand.

IALA and international cooperation

While IALA is not part of the United Nations (UN) system, it has been cooperating closely with some UN entities and other international organizations for decades and is committed to the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

International cooperation is ever-more important in an era of globalization, rapid technological changes, growing demand for digital connectivity, mounting environmental pressures, and increased public expectations about sound ocean governance. Working together as an equal partner with other IGOs – each with their respective mandates, roles and responsibilities – will bring greater opportunities in terms of effective coordination, increased harmonization and integration of standards, and better use of available resources, in accordance with the UN policy on “Delivering as One”.

It is also against the background of these challenging realities of today’s world that the XIIth IALA General Assembly held in A Coruña, Spain in 2014 adopted a resolution stating its firm belief that IGO status will best facilitate IALA’s aims in the twenty-first century and determining that the new status should be achieved as soon as possible through the development of an international convention.


Francis ZACHARIAE, IALA Secretary-General, has led the IGO Action project since his appointment in February 2015

Delegates from around the world attended the highly successful IALA Third Preparatory Diplomatic Conference in Istanbul in March of this year (2019)

Launching of the Maritime Connectivity Platform Consortium

On the 8th of February 2019, the Maritime Connectivity Platform Consortium (MCC) was established with a signature ceremony during the ‘e-Navigation Underway International 2019’ conference.

This is an important step for e-navigation – and for the digitalisation in the maritime domain at large. A platform like the Maritime Connectivity Platform is needed in order to ensure secure and reliable information exchange.

The structure of the consortium is inspired from the World Wide Web consortium. It has a core of so called host-members, which are the ones signing the consortium arrangement, and which are all non-profit organisations. Every other relevant organisation is invited to join as regular member.

IALA is part of the consortium advisory board, which is intended to have representatives from international organisations.

The picture shows the signing ceremony during e-Navigation Underway on board Pearl Seaways

Please read the press release here

IALA 3rd Pre-Diplomatic Conference in Istanbul Turkey from 12 to 14 March 2019 & WWA Seminar on the Safety of Navigation, 11 March 2019

National members and representatives of governments wishing to participate in the Third Preparatory Diplomatic Conference to continue the detailed reading of the draft IALA Convention that have not registered as yet are encouraged to do so, using the link: Participants can access the documents for the conference through this link:

The World-Wide Academy organizes a Seminar on the Safety of Navigation under the theme of “Effective Implementation of IALA Standards” the day before the Conference at the same venue. Registration is now available on this link: There is no fee to participate in the Seminar. Please note that separate registrations are needed for the Seminar and for the Conference.

The 68 th session of the IALA Council met from 11 to 14th December at IALA Headquarters

Council 68

The 68 th session of the IALA Council met from 11 to 14th December at IALA Headquarters, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, under the presidency of Ms Young-shin Kim, Republic of Korea.

The full report is available for members to download on this page:

ARM8 was held at IALA HQ from 22 to 26 October 2018

The 8th Session of the ARM Committee was held at IALA Headquarters from 22 to 26 October 2018.

The session was attended by 64 participants from 28 countries, of which 44 were National Members, 3 were Industrial Members, 13 were Associate Members, 3 were observers. Seventeen participants attended for the first time. The following chart shows an analysis of participants.

The Committee commenced the work for the 2018-2022 work period, including the new role of the ARM Committee regarding operational aspects of Maritime Services which fits well with the overall strategy of IALA and the evolution of the maritime sector.

Working in three working groups, the Committee considered 98 input papers including presentations and produced 15 output documents including 1revised Academy model course, 10 liaison notes, 1 workshop proposal and 17 working papers. All Recommendations and Guidelines considered were aligned with the proposed seven Standards.

The Committee produced the following Model Course:

Draft Model Course L1.2 Master of AtoN Management Ed.1_20181024.

The Committee prepared the following workshop proposal:

Draft Cyber Security Workshop Proposal.

ENG8 was held at IALA HQ from 15 to 19 October 2018

The eighth meeting of the ENG Committee (ENG8) was held from 15th to 19th October 2018 in IALA HQ.

The session was attended by 82 participants from 28 countries, of which 51 were National Members, 15 were Industrial Members, 16 were Associate Members. There were no observers. Seventeen participants attended for the first time. The following chart shows an analysis of the participation.

Working in three working groups, the Committee considered 90 input papers including presentations and produced 29 output documents including 6 revised Academy model courses, 2 draft Recommendations, 3 draft Guidelines, 4 workshop/seminar proposals and 17 working papers. All Recommendations and Guidelines considered were aligned with the proposed seven Standards.

The Committee produced the following Recommendations, Guidelines, Model Courses:

  • Draft new Recommendation on Resilient PNT
  • Draft IALA Recommendation R0200-1 (E200-1) Ed.2 on Marine Signal Lights Colours
  • Draft Guideline 1006 on plastic buoys
  • Draft Guideline G1067-3 Ed.2 Electrical Energy Storage for AtoN_Dec2017
  • Draft Guideline 1065 Ed.4 AtoN Signal Light Beam Vertical Divergence_Dec2017
  • Draft new WWA Model Course L1.2 Master of AtoN Management

The Committee drafted the following proposals for workshops/ seminars:

  • Proposal for R-Mode workshop 2019
  • Draft Cyber Security Workshop Proposal
  • Draft Heritage Seminar Proposal
  • IALALITE- IALABATT workshop proposal 2021

ENAV22 was held at IALA HQ from 8 to 12 October 2018

The 22nd session of the ENAV Committee was held at IALA Headquarters from 8 to 12 October 2018.

117 Delegates from 25 countries, 4 sister organisations and 4 observers participated in ENAV22. This included 34 participants for the first time;

This was the first meeting for the 2018-2022 Work Programme and the ENAV Committee considered 93 input papers and produced 20 output papers of three Working Groups.

Key outputs included:

The completion of the following revised Guidelines:

  • Guideline G1128 on the Specification of e-Navigation Technical Services;
  • Guideline G1139 on Technical Specification of VDES

VTS45 was held at IALA HQ from 1 to 5 October 2018

The 45th Session of the VTS Committee was held at IALA Headquarters from 1 to 5 October 2018.

96 Delegates from 27 countries, 4 sister organisations and 1 observer participated in VTS45. This included 19 participants for the first time;

This was the first meeting for the 2018-2022 Work Programme and the VTS Committee considered 63 input papers and produced 16 output papers of three Working Groups.

Key outputs included:

The completion or revision of the following Recommendations and Guidelines:

  • Recommendation R0127 on VTS Operations;
  • Guideline G1141 on Operational Procedures for VTS;
  • Guideline G1142 on The provision of Local Port Services;
  • Guideline G1045 on Staffing Levels at VTS Centres;

A template description was drafted for a joint IALA, WMO and IHO submission to IMO on Maritime Services.

A reference document was completed for the IALA documentation related to VTS and will be available on the IALA website.

World Marine Aids to Navigation Day 2019 Preparation

IALA members are encouraged to submit their proposals for the theme 2019 to the secretariat at before November 1st 2018.

The objectives of the World Marine AtoN Day are the following:

  • To promote greater awareness of IALA by bringing to the attention of the wider public the role of IALA and the significance of its technical work in enhancing the safety of navigation world-wide.
  • To improve the society’s perception of AtoN as modern, technologically advanced marine aids which, alongside traditional lighthouses, embrace the latest digital developments and support new developments in all fields, including VTS.

For more information, please download the letter addressed to members here.

Pour plus d’information, merci de télécharger la lettre adressée aux membres ici.

Para más información, descargue la carta aquí.

The IALA Secretariat is looking forward to receiving your input!