Message from the Secretary-General
With IALA having reached a record worldwide membership at the start of 2020, I have every confidence in the Association’s strength to continue to meet the needs of the global maritime community for safety of navigation and protection of the environment.
As we approach the Diplomatic Conference to be held in Kuala Lumpur during the last week of February, I emphasize the importance of participation by as many National members and Government representatives as possible. This will enable the Conference to conclude the multilateral deliberations on the draft Convention by consensus. This new legal instrument has been drafted in accordance with international treaty law. It is designed as a transparent governance regime for the future IALA as an intergovernmental organization that will engage coastal States directly with the goal of improved harmonization in the provision of Marine Aids to Navigation and related services. I refer readers to the Conference registration reminder in this newsletter, which also provides registration details for the pre-Conference, one-day World-Wide Academy seminar on safety of navigation.
The new Convention also safeguards the continued, direct engagement of our Industrial members, who are vital to the highly specialised technical work of the IALA Committees. I look forward to welcoming as many participants as possible to the important mid-term meeting of the Industrial Members Committee, scheduled to take place at IALA Headquarters on 5th and 6th October. A letter of invitation together with a briefing on recent developments at IALA is ready to be sent out separately to each Industrial member via e-mail.
Meanwhile, January brought a highly successful result for years of hard work by the VTS Committee, with input from a wide range of maritime stakeholders, on the comprehensive revision of the current international Guidelines for Vessel Traffic Services. A draft revised text providing a modern framework for VTS passed the first approval stage at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Seafarers depend increasingly on shore-based maritime services like VTS for safety of navigation and recognition of IALA’s work by the IMO is, therefore, highly significant. The Organization’s Maritime Safety Committee is expected to give its formal approval to the draft revised guidelines in May, with the adoption of an associated new IMO Assembly resolution (superseding the current Resolution A.857(20)) to follow next year.
I am very pleased about the ever-accelerating uptake of IALA courses. Through the activities of the Academy, so many people around the world feel motivated to cooperate in the interests of improved implementation of internationally accepted standards. It is this will to work together and to share information and expertise which determines the realistic feasibility of our Strategic Vision for the establishment of a globally harmonized network of Marine Aids to Navigation, to which all coastal States will contribute by the middle of this decade.
I also wish to draw attention to the World-Wide Academy’s commitment to the gender equality goal of the United Nations (Sustainable Development Goal 5). The participation in maritime technical training by women is highly welcome and the Academy deserves praise for its effective steps to encourage it.
The Symposium, on the theme of “Enhanced Maritime Safety and Efficiency by Connectivity”, for the first time will combine the topics of VTS and e-navigation in a packed five-day programme that will include the popular industrial exhibition and technical visits to Dutch maritime centres. Registration is now open via the official website www.iala-rotterdam2020.nl.