IALA - Our international connections
IALA is the expert organisation for marine aids to navigation world wide. Its headquarters is in Paris, where there is a permanent Secretariat headed by the Secretary General. The IALA Council is elected by a General Assembly of national members representing the member countries. Each country has one vote. Ireland is represented on the Council by Dr Stuart Ruttle, Chief Executive. The Council implements the overall policy and objectives of IALA. IALA has representation on the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations body which directs world maritime affairs, and IALA's voice on all matters concerning aids to navigation is extremely influential.
IALA holds a Conference every four years during which the General Assembly reviews progress and sets goals for the next four years. Information is exchanged through the presentation of papers which are discussed by the delegates. The broad concept of navigation, how ships navigate, how hazards are marked, new technology such as the Universal Automatic Identification System (AIS) and the concept of e-navigation all require addressing.
Goals are progressed through a Committee structure. There are four standing Committees, drawn from world-wide participants who meet twice a year for three or four days to progress their tasks. These Committees are-
Aids to Navigation Management, and
Vessel Traffic Services.
The Committees deal with many issues and produce draft Recommendations and Guidelines for the consideration by the Council. When approved by the Council they are issued world wide. So when people in Irish Lights say they are off to IALA you will know that they are attending one of these Committees.
IALA also holds Workshops on specific subjects in order to fast track particular issues. Ireland hosted such a Workshop in Dublin in 2004 on the subject of marine lights and batteries, and in particular the advances in light emitting diode (led) technology.
On 13 November 2006 three members of Chile's Maritime Signalling Service landed in Ireland. Their mission was to spend two weeks on board ILV Granuaile studying the ship's design, our methods of buoy deployment and servicing, lighthouse replenishment, and hydrographic activities. Their visit coincided with the worst period of bad weather so far in 2006. While unimpressed with our climate, they were very impressed with our new facilities in Dun Laoghaire, and the functionality of the Granuaile.
International co-operation and dialogue is the key and long may it continue. You can find further information on IALA at www.iala-aism.org
'Sending a strong message of international co-operation for the safe navigation of ships and mariners worldwide'
The International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) is the international body with technical and engineering expertise in the design, operation, maintenance and development of aids to navigation.
Established in 1957 as a non-governmental organisation, the Association's worldwide membership has grown to over 80 national members drawn from government authorities responsible for aids to navigation, and some 90 industry members from the manufacturing sector, the research and academic communities, and other interested parties. The IALA General Assembly meets every four years and its Council twice a year. The Association has its headquarters in Paris.
IALA is committed to promoting the provision of the best possible mix of standardised traditional and electronic aids to navigation in the interests of safe and efficient marine navigation. Major aspects of its strategy for the period 2006-2010 are:
• the development of a reference master plan for a worldwide marine aids to navigation system;
• the promotion of a harmonised risk analysis and management tool for aids to navigation; and
• the development of appropriate guidance on standardised quality assurance systems for aids to navigation equipment and service delivery.
IALA enjoys consultative status with the International Maritime Organization of the United Nations. It also works closely with the International Hydrographic Organisation, the International Telecommunications Union, the International Electrotechnical Commission, sister organisations representing mariners, and other related organisations.
In addition to its four-yearly Conference and exhibition, IALA organises regular seminars and workshops around the world on technical, operational, and training aspects of aids to navigation.
The Association executes its work programme through various standing Technical Committees. For the period 2006-2010 four Committees will be concerned with:
• Vessel traffic services (VTS);
• Electronic navigation, including the Automatic Identification Systems (AIS), the IALA Differential Global Navigation Satellite System (DGNSS), and communication technologies;
• Aids to navigation management, including quality assurance; and
• Engineering, environment, and preservation of historic lighthouses and other historic aids to navigation equipment.
For further details of the Conference's conclusions and recommendations go to www.iala2006.info.