Message from the Secretary-General

I am pleased to report that Virtual Committee meetings in the second half of the year were held from 16 September to 2 November taking account of a broad range of time zones.  

Our Committees: VTS 51, ENG 14, ENAV 28 and ARM 14 saw a total of 481 participants take part from 37 countries and sister organizations with 40 delegates attending for the first time. 

Under the current work programme due to end in 2023 the Committees worked on 294 input papers, 42 of which have been finalised as output papers and 201 meetings were arranged. 

In summary, many presentations were made using the successful Microsoft Teams platform enabling participants to appreciate other committees’ topics.

The first in a series of a Digital@Sea Asia-Pacific Conferences, was virtually held under the theme Leading Digitalization of Maritime Industry on 8 and 9 September 2021, in Sejong City, Republic of Korea. 805 participants from more than 50 countries participated.  This event replaces the former e-Navigation Underway Conference Asia-Pacific (ENUW AP) held from 2017 to 2020.

The Digital@Sea Asia-Pacific Conference was organised by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea with IALA and the Danish Maritime Authority.

This conference discussed advanced technologies and industries related to maritime digitalization, the focus on global harmonization, data connectivity, and inter-operability among them as well as decarbonisation through them. It took into account e-Navigation, MASS, cyber security, maritime informatics, and the maritime connectivity platform. Video of the 43 sessions is available here:

On 12 and 15 to 19 November we held a virtual Workshop on Cyber Security in Marine Aids to Navigation operations in association with the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG). This considered cyber security and its impact on the operation of Marine Aids to Navigation and the relevant maritime services in the context of e-Navigation. At the same time delegates considered the scope, content and structure of IALA guidance on the management of cyber security relevant to their work.  Under the chairmanship of Phil Day 64 delegates took part in the workshop.  A valuable series of conclusions was agreed.

The report will be available here:

More States have signed the Convention on the International Organization for Marine Aids to Navigation as we approach the end of the year of the Convention with three ratifications/acceptances and nineteen 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.

This Convention has been open for signature to all the UN Member States in Paris since 27 January 2021 for a period of one year ending on 26 January 2022.

Once again I send thanks for the continued attendance by the dedicated who attend our gatherings and for the time that they give to ensure that the committees have been able to keep working in these unprecedented times.

Finally, I pay a further tribute to the efforts of our members during these difficult times when Covid-19 remains in our midst. These good people have continued to provide an aids to navigation service so essential for the safety of marine traffic and the maintenance of the global economy.

Staff of our members have remained where possible at their normal workplace in responding to outages and the perpetual maintenance task required to keep services operational. Again, this devotion deserves special mention. At the close of the year I take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful and joyous Festive Season and send every good wish for 2022.

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