E-Bulletin June 2024

Republic of Korea

The 5th World Marine Aids to Navigation Day Celebration

The Republic of Korea held a ceremony at the Hidden Bay Hotel in the beautiful port city of Yeosu, Jeollanam-do on 30 June to commemorate the 5th World Marine Aids to Navigation Day under the theme of ‘120 Years of Modern Lighthouse in Korea, Lighthouse with the People’.

Future vision

At the ceremony, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries presented a future vision for smart Aids to Navigation, Korean Positioning System (KPS), and the preservation and sustainable use of lighthouses with historical and cultural value. They also awarded ministerial citations to those who contributed to the development of Aids to Navigation in Korea. In addition, various side events such as public essay contest award on lighthouse experience and commemorative video screenings were held. Cho Seung-hwan, Minister of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Francis Zachariae, Secretary-General of IALA, and So Byung-hoon, Chairman of the National Assembly’s Agriculture, Food, Rural Affairs, Oceans & Fisheries Committee, delivered congratulatory messages through the video.

An important year 2023

This year, 2023, is a very meaningful year that marks 120 years since Korea’s first modern lighthouse, Palmido Lighthouse, was lit, and it is also a monumental year that marks the 200th anniversary since the Fresnel Lens was developed and installed at the Cordouan Lighthouse, dubbed as the ‘The Invention That Saved A Million Ships worldwide.

Cho Seung-hwan, Minister of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, said in a congratulatory message: ‘We hope that the people will remember the values and importance of Aid to Navigation including lighthouses. The government will also do its best to preserve and sustainably use lighthouses with excellent historical and cultural values and actively promote the development of high-tech Aids to Navigation that will serve as future growth engines to continue its leading role as a maritime nation.’

Historical and cultural values

In addition, on 29 June, the 5th International Aids to Navigation Forum was held as part of the 5th World Marine Aids to Navigation Day celebration. It was hosted by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and organized by Korea Institute of Aids to Navigation. Korea holds an International Aids to Navigation Forum annually to promote historical and cultural values of Aids to Navigation including lighthouses, and to share the results of research and development of Aids to Navigation.

This forum plays a major role in promoting cooperation among IALA members and raising public interest. In particular, this year, in addition to the forum, various additional events were also held, including a special exhibition of the winning works of the lighthouse photo contest and a hands-on experience program for children.

The 5th International Aids to Navigation Forum consisted of three sessions: a special session, the first session The History of Aids to Navigation, and the second session The Future of Aids to Navigation.

Broad topics, ROK and foreign experts’ input

Korean and foreign experts from Japan, China, and France, gathered to present seven different topics and hold comprehensive discussions. In particular, celebrating a monumental year, 2023, in the history of lighthouse, French curator Vincent Guigueno and Professor Kim Ki-soo of Dong-A University introduced the history of the Fresnel Lens in celebration of its 200th anniversary, and the history of the 120 years of Korean modern lighthouses, respectively.

This forum was a meaningful opportunity to discuss how to view and utilize the history and value of Aids to Navigation and what the future challenges of Aids to Navigation are.

By holding the World Marine Aid to Navigation Day celebration, the Republic of Korea not only strengthened the status of the Aids to Navigation responsible for maritime traffic safety and the marine environment, but also provided an opportunity to reflect on the diverse values and importance of Aids to Navigation.

Editor’s note:

This article is based on material  kindly provided by Cho Yonghun

Rapporteur: Paul Ridgway

Back to e-Bulletins