The aim of IALA is to foster the safe, economic and efficient movement of vessels, through the improvement and harmonisation of Marine Aids to Navigation worldwide and other appropriate means, for the benefit of the maritime community and the protection of the environment.
The IALA World-Wide Academy (the Academy) concentrates its work on the second goal of IALA’s Strategic Vision, which states that by 2026:
All coastal States have contributed to an efficient global network of Marine Aids to Navigation and services for the safety of navigation, through capacity building and the sharing of expertise.
In the IALA Constitution, the term Marine Aids to Navigation is defined as:
A device, system or service, external to vessels, designed and operated to enhance safe and efficient navigation of individual vessels and/or vessel traffic.
Accordingly, the Academy focuses on facilitating the effective implementation of the Standards, Recommendations, Guidelines and Model Courses by coastal States in their effort to fulfil the obligations placed upon Contracting Governments within Chapter V of the IMO Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), particularly in Regulation 12 on Vessel Traffic Services and Regulation 13 on the establishment and operation of Aids to Navigation.
In support of the IALA Strategic Vision and in close cooperation with the IALA technical committees, the primary goals of the Academy are to facilitate:
That all coastal States can fulfil the obligations related to Marine Aids to Navigation placed upon them in SOLAS Chapter V; and that all coastal States can claim conformance with the relevant IALA Standards
In order to achieve these goals, the Academy undertakes a wide range of activities which are comprehensively planned to ensure an effective implementation of this strategy.
Some coastal States experience challenges in the fulfilment of their Maine Aids to Navigation related obligations. These challenges may be due to the absence of appropriate competences, resources, knowledge and/or leadership resulting in gaps between current practices and the expectations of the international community as expressed in SOLAS Chapter V and the IALA Standards.
Whilst in some cases, structural changes are necessary to facilitate improvements, in many cases the challenges can be overcome through knowledge sharing, education and training as well as capacity building. Therefore, the Academy endeavours to:
In support of the United Nations “Delivering as One” approach, the Academy endeavours to cooperate with and coordinate its activities with other international organisations to ensure the integrated and efficient provision of capacity building activities underpinning the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Main areas of activity
In order to achieve as much as possible with the limited resources available, the Academy attempts to focus on those coastal States who are in the greatest need of assistance while operating in three main areas of activity:
Education and training activities – the successful delivery of Marine Aids to Navigation services depends upon competent and experienced personnel, therefore, the Academy:
- Supports the development of IALA Model Courses in close cooperation with the IALA technical committees;
- Oversees the effective implementation of the IALA training accreditation scheme;
- Supports the development of a network of accredited training organisations world-wide and their delivery of the IALA Model Courses;
- Delivers the IALA Model Courses by distance learning and other means as well as providing specialized training on subjects outside the scope of existing IALA Model Courses; and
- Facilitates continuous development of Marine Aids to Navigation professionals through alumni activities and other initiatives.
Capacity building activities – many coastal States have a need to develop and/or reinforce their national and institutional capacity to deliver Marine Aids to Navigation services to international standards. Therefore, the Academy:
- Conducts workshops and seminars to raise the awareness of high-level decision makers with respect to their international obligations;
- Undertakes analytical missions to identify gaps between current practices and international standards and provides advice on how to bridge these gaps;
- Arranges follow-up activities to review progress made towards conformance with international standards; and
- Provides opportunities for individuals to participate in training and IALA events to raise their level of expertise and interact with other Marine Aids to Navigation professionals.
Research and development activities – in order to advance the frontiers of knowledge and facilitate research and development, the Academy maintains a list of topics of interest to the IALA membership where further research may be needed and liaises with maritime universities and other relevant organisations world-wide with a view of encouraging further research into these topics.
Resources and funding
Human resources – the Academy has permanent staff with extensive experience in all aspects of Marine Aids to Navigation management. Expert consultants are appointed periodically on a case-by-case basis, as required. Further resources are available through the integration of the Academy with the permanent Secretariat of IALA.
Sustainable funding – the Academy is independently funded by a range of international sponsors and it is of vital importance to ensure the sustainability of funding to support the implementation of this strategy. Therefore, the Academy provides feedback on its activities and achievements to its sponsors in order to ensure their continued support and unceasingly endeavours to build relationships with potential new sponsors, both within and outside of the IALA membership.