Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Handling of digital information
The Conference had a strong focus on the development and exchange of maritime digital information to improve the safety and efficiency of maritime transport. It heard that the use of Maritime Resource Names (.mrn) will be needed for the development of globally-harmonised data models to enable implementation of digital maritime services under the IMO e-Navigation Strategic Implementation Plan.
Evolution of the existing AIS system into the VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) was highlighted by a number of presenters as important for secure and reliable digital communications, together with other commercial satellite and terrestrial communications services.
There were presentations also, on the practical use of existing public terrestrial systems for providing safety information to fishing vessels and leisure craft. Cyber security risks in data transfer will continue to grow, and cyber security precautions will remain vital.
Shore authorities in Europe explained how they share AIS data to support maritime domain awareness, and how they are developing traffic management concepts to improve transport chain efficiency.
Effective and unambiguous VTS communications will require common phraseology, procedures and technology for voice communications, and harmonised data models and communications channels for digital information exchange.
Revision of IMO Resolution A.857(20) (Guidelines on Vessel Traffic Services) will be necessary for this harmonisation and for a common global understanding and implementation of modern VTS services.
In the sessions on Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) the importance of resilient was underscored. Resilient PNT is vital for electronic navigation and underpins a variety of safety-related services. A mix of dissimilar systems is required to achieve resilient PNT and candidate technologies were explored.
Autonomous vessels considered
Autonomous vessels entering service now and in the future will need assured positioning and automatic compensation for GNSS outages or disruption. Satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS), (Ranging) R-Mode, radar positioning and eLoran are electronic systems likely to be used to help achieve the necessary resilience, but there is still no global consensus on a coordinated approach for the maritime world.
The growing use of risk assessment by shore authorities to aid safe navigation was noted. While there is no single comprehensive tool, IALA’s risk management tool box has a set of proven, widely-used assessment programmes. If used correctly, they can greatly assist aids to navigation authorities to evaluate risk, and to help coastal states to meet their international obligations.
Traditional visual aids to navigation remain essential in waterways. Increasingly such aids are being supplemented by virtual electronic aids for navigation and for emergencies or disasters. The conference heard of recent changes to IALA Recommendations for visual aids to navigation, of technical developments for practical installation, operation, and maintenance. These conclusions were supported by results of user consultation.
The IALA Council
The new IALA Council (pictured) elected in Incheon is represented by the principal aids to navigation authorities of each of: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, The Kingdom of Morocco, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, Turkey, The United Kingdom and The United States of America.
Industrial Members’ Committee
At the General Assembly of the Industrial Members held on 31May during the Conference the new Industrial Members Committee was elected for the next four years.
The Committee consists of representative by region:
• Europe/Africa Representative, Lars Mansner, Sabik.
Member at Large, John Sugarman, Australian Maritime Systems.
• Country of the next Conference (Brazil): Marcel Tetu, Arbo Plasticos.
• Americas Representative, Clive W Quickenden, Tideland Signal Corporation (represented by Alfredo Dominguez).
Member at Large, Chris Procter, Sealite Pty Ltd.
• Asian/Oceania Representative, Noboru Maruoka, Zeni Lite Buoy Co., Ltd.
Many IALA members contributed display material and artefacts for an extensive exhibition of lighthouse culture and traditions which supplemented the technical sessions and industrial exhibition to trace the development of lighthouses and lighthouse life.
During the Conference the Incheon Declaration on Lighthouses as Cultural Heritage was agreed. This sets out a vision for the conservation and sustainable management of historical lighthouses as cultural heritage. The accord may be read here: http://www.iala-aism.org/content/uploads/2018/06/Incheon-Declaration.pdf
A national painting competition produced a wonderful array of award-winning paintings from schools across Korea. This exhibition was supported by a special Conference session of the preservation and complementary use of historic lighthouses and their real estate. Presentations explored the cultural, technological, architectural and financial benefits gained from an active heritage programme.
It was reported from Cape Town towards the end of May that South Africa is emerging as a hub of training in marine aids to navigation (AtoNs) for other developing countries keen to establish their maritime transport sector as a safe, secure and environmentally sound pillar of socio-economic growth. This was clear from an address by David Gordon, Executive Manager: Lighthouse and Navigational Systems (LNS) of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) at the Pre-Conference Forum of the 19th IALA Conference in Incheon, Republic of Korea on 26 May.
More than 500 delegates attended the 19th IALA Conference which was held in the port city of Incheon, Republic of Korea, from 26 May to 2 June 2018.
A total of 94 technical presentations were made in 13 technical sessions and two special sessions over four days, and Conference participants were able to see and discuss the latest developments in aids to navigation and VTS technology in the large industrial exhibition, where a record number of IALA Industrial Members exhibited.