E-Bulletin June 2024

The 20th IALA Conference

The 20th IALA Conference recently concluded, left its mark as a momentous event in the maritime industry. Held every four years, the conference serves as a crucial platform for stakeholders to gather, exchange knowledge, and discuss advancements in marine navigation, and the protection of the environment.

A forum of collaboration

The IALA Conference brought together maritime professionals, industry experts, government officials, and researchers from across the globe. The event served as a forum for fostering collaboration and international cooperation. Participants engaged in insightful discussions on the challenges and opportunities surrounding marine aids to navigation, vessel traffic services, and maritime communication systems.

Emerging technologies

One of the key focal points of the conference was the exploration of emerging technologies that can enhance maritime safety and efficiency. The conference featured presentations on advanced solutions such as autonomous vessels, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and remote sensing technologies. These innovations have the potential to revolutionize the maritime industry and improve navigational safety.


In line with the growing global emphasis on sustainability, the 20th IALA Conference dedicated significant attention to environmentally friendly practices in the maritime sector. Participants discussed strategies to reduce the carbon footprint of ships, minimize marine pollution, and promote ecosystem conservation. The conference highlighted the role of marine aids to navigation in facilitating safe and sustainable shipping routes.

Safety at sea is a paramount concern, and the conference addressed various aspects of safety and risk management in maritime operations.

Delegates shared best practices, case studies, and new methodologies to enhance navigational safety, mitigate risks, and improve emergency response procedures. Discussions covered topics such as risk assessment, human factors, training programmes, and incident reporting systems.

Emphasis on training

Recognizing the importance of well-trained personnel in ensuring safe navigation, the conference placed a strong emphasis on capacity building and training initiatives. Participants discussed the development of standardized training programmes, competency frameworks, and knowledge-sharing platforms. These efforts aim to enhance the skills and expertise of maritime professionals, thereby improving the overall safety culture within the industry.

Fostering collaboration

The 20th IALA Conference provided a valuable platform for fostering regional and global collaboration. Participants from different regions shared their experiences, challenges, and success stories, promoting cross-border cooperation. The conference also facilitated the exchange of information and expertise among countries with varying levels of maritime infrastructure, enabling them to learn from each other’s practices and implement best-suited solutions.

Safety and efficiency

The 20th IALA Conference successfully convened maritime experts and professionals, promoting collaboration, knowledge sharing, and innovation within the industry. The event highlighted the role of advanced technologies, sustainable practices, and safety measures in shaping the future of maritime navigation. The outcomes and discussions from the conference will continue to influence technological advancements in the years to come, solidifying IALA’s crucial role as the international authority in marine aids to navigation.

Here are the conclusions:

  • Sustainability and its link to the UN SDGs is of increasing importance and IALA is duty bound to raise the profile of this area in the committees.  Members should continue to innovate sustainable approaches by recognizing, developing and reviewing the whole lifecycle of AtoN services.
  • In addition to GNSS, various space and terrestrial technologies are able to provide PNT and integrity information to the maritime user. IALA should continue to facilitate collaboration and standardisation taking a holistic approach to achieve resilient PNT. 
  • To achieve digital transformation in the S-100 domain, the importance of collaboration and continued dialogue between IHO, IALA and other domain controllers is necessary. IALA should stand ready to assist coastal authorities with their transition to S-100 related products.
  • Autonomy is a driver to leverage the development of digital products. AtoN has a role in support of autonomous vessels and technology needs to be standardized to meet the future requirements of all vessels.
  • The IALA Risk Toolbox has proven benefits for members but should be enhanced to cover all ships on all voyages. The IALA Toolbox forms an essential part of assessment of risk and their mitigation requirements. Simulation techniques provide for a comprehensive assessment of mitigation measures.
  • IALA should encourage members to collaborate and have proper structures and procedures in place in order to prevent, identify, deal with and recover effectively from cyber security events. IALA has a role in supporting dissemination of lessons learnt in order to increase resilience against these threats.
  • VTS technology needs to take into account human factors with increased digitalization, including AI in VTS.
  • IALA acknowledges that virtual tools and the use of e-learning contributes to flexible, efficient and sustainable training. In addition, IALA recognizes its role in promoting the use of language testing tools to improve the communication capabilities of VTS operators.
  • Physical AtoN remains important to the mariner. IALA members should continue to pursue emerging technologies and approaches such as big data analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), machine vision technology and drones to make their services more effective and meet the future needs of the mariner.

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