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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 in 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 Korea on 26 May.

Gordon, who previously served as IALA President from 2010 to 2014, addressed the forum on the topic of the South African experience of providing AtoN Management training.

He said, “South Africa is recognised as the centre of excellence in Africa with regard to AtoNs. It is therefore important that South Africa leads the way in ensuring that the African continent on the whole is led by competent individuals and organisations in order to achieve compliance with international legislation.”

In 2018 Gordon spearheaded Transnet’s successful hosting of two IALA training events in Cape Town – the first IALA Risk Management Seminar on the African continent in the English language, and the first IALA Level 1 Aids to Navigation (AtoN) Manager training.

“The courses were developed by IALA and presented all over the world in English, French and Spanish. The course has also been adapted through a collaborative process with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) in order to align it with the National Qualifications Framework,” said Gordon.

IALA Risk Management Seminar

The seminar was targeted at those involved in the design, marking and management of waterways. It provided an international and regional overview of risk management within the port environment, and stressed the importance of stakeholder liaison, the value of the IALA Risk Management Tools (software) and national administrations in waterway planning.

The training, which included theoretical and practical components, was delivered by world renowned experts including Omar Frits Eriksson, Dean of the IALA World-Wide Academy (WWA), Gerardine Delanoye, Programme Manager of the IALA WWA, Captain Roger Barker of Trinity House, Captain Tunçay Çehreli, Chair of the IALA VTS Committee, Professor Knud Benedict, Chairman of the International Navigation Simulator Lecturers Conference and Per Christian Engberg, Chief Architect of the IWRAP Mk2 risk assessment tool.

The 27 participants included 23 TNPA employees within the portfolio of the Chief Harbour Master and four international delegates from the International Harbour Masters Association, Namibian Ports Authority, the General Directorate of Maritime Affairs in Guatemala and Madagascar’s Maritime and Fluvial Port Agency.

All the participants completed the seminar and were presented with certificates of completion.

Eleven participants continued with the IALA Level 1 Aids to Navigation (AtoN) Manager training.

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