The board of the International Foundation for Aids to Navigation (IFAN) has met in London and highlighted the issue of non-payment of navigational dues as critical to the ongoing modernisation and provision of aids to navigation in the Middle East Gulf region.

The Middle East Navigation Aids Service (MENAS, a subsidiary of IFAN) has been providing these services since 1911 as no state owns the Aids to Navigation in the joint waters of the Gulf.  This service is funded exclusively via nav dues payments, and the sustainability of the existing service, on which the shipping industry depends, is totally dependent on receipt of these nav dues.

The board, which is made up of the senior executives of some of the world’s largest ship owners, confirmed that plans to recapitalise DGPS (Differential Global Positioning System) services in the Middle East Gulf will be funded from navigational dues from ship owners.

Alan Marsh, newly elected Chairman of IFAN, said the Foundation and its sister organisation the MENAS, were committed to providing world class navigational aids, including maritime safety broadcasts to seafarers, in the region.

But he stressed it was essential that users fully contributed to the running cost of the services provided by MENAS.

Peter Stanley, CEO of IFAN, said: “MENAS will continue to provide services but sadly shipowners may not even know that these are provided by MENAS and some question the need to pay Nav Dues whilst transiting these highly important and congested waters.

“These Nav Dues are essential to ensure MENAS can continue to provide Aids to Navigation in the region while there is no alternative service provider or navigational system providing as accurate a service.  All ships in the area share the benefit of these well-maintained nav aids,” he said.

MENAS is currently the Gulf region’s leading innovator in the development, fabrication, supply and maintenance of AtoNs. Operating from its main base in Bahrain and a support base in Abu Dhabi, MENAS owns and maintains an extensive network of buoys, lighthouses and DGPS transmitters. It also provides essential information and advice such as the issuance of Notices to Mariners, advising on hazards to shipping and co-ordinating additions to navigation charts for the Gulf. Over 2,000 vessels rely upon MENAS equipment and services each month.

MENAS is an associate member of the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) which has agreed to partner MENAS in the provision of training port authority personnel to the regions starting in the 3Q of this year.