The International Foundation for Aids to Navigation’s (IFAN), overall objective is the promotion of safety at sea and the protection of the marine environment. Headquartered in London, it achieves this by contributing to the efforts of a number of other maritime organisations, through education and funding of global Aids to Navigation initiatives. It operates several commercial subsidiaries, generating revenue which is re-invested in maritime hard and soft infrastructure initiatives. IFAN links with entities such as the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), Straits of Malacca and Singapore Fund, amongst others.
Established over 60 years ago, the ‘Persian Gulf Lighting Service’ was created as the responsible authority for aids to navigation in the Arabian Gulf. This structure evolved to become MENAS (Middle East Navigation Aids Service), which continues to be the Gulf region’s leading innovator in the supply and maintenance of Aids to Navigation including DGPS. In addition, it provides advisory services related to the safe navigation of vessels entering and transiting the Arabian Gulf and its approaches. The change of name of the parent Company, from MENAS to International Foundation for Aids to Navigation (IFAN), was made in 2011 to reflect extended global coverage of safety at sea and Aids to Navigation activities and functions.
Structure & Funding
IFAN is constituted as an English company limited by guarantee and is registered with the UK Charity Commission as a charity. The company has no shareholders and is absolved from taxation in the UK. Besides MENAS, the charity has two wholly owned operating subsidiaries, MENAS Marine Services Limited (MMSL), which commercially operates an offshore support vessel, previously primary bouy handler in the Gulf, and Oman Marine Services Limited (OMSL). The latter holds a 50% share in an Omani company - Arabian Marine and Navigational Aids Services Limited - provided under a concessional agreement from the Sultanate for its aids to navigation service.
IFAN provides its support at the lowest possible cost, by extracting the maximum value from its assets and by effectively managing its costs. The aids to navigation service provided by MENAS throughout the Arabian Gulf is financed by the payment of Nav Dues (or Light Dues) for vessels making trading voyages into the Gulf. All dues collected are exclusively utilised to cover MENAS’ operating costs and to improve the aids to navigation service in the Gulf region. Malacca/IALA and other financial/support arrangements are funded from income from charitable assets - including the MMSL vessel (OSV Relume) - or from retained reserves or funds invested in various securities managed by professional investment managers.
Additional to its wider, global remit, IFAN continues to provide the aids to navigation service across the international waters of the Arabian Gulf through MENAS, utilising its equipment and facilities from an operational base in Bahrain and a support base in Abu Dhabi. Within the GCC, IFAN also provides technical and management services to Oman following the Sultanate’s assumption of responsibility for providing an aids to navigation service in both its territorial waters and extended economic zone.
For a number of years IFAN has also supported a major international effort to improve the traffic separation scheme for the Malacca Straits, one of the World’s most congested waterways. It continues to contribute a major proportion of the total funding required to meet the costs of a 10-year refurbishment programme of infrastructure and operations.
IFAN has also committed to a five-year funding of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) training programme - The Worldwide Academy. This is aimed at improving global knowledge and understanding of the need for aids to navigation, its impact on littoral States’ international trade and the ongoing maintenance requirement of the infrastructure.
In addition to its funding of IALA training programmes, IFAN involves itself in various other projects where a significant industry or geographical requirement requires support, such as research into maritime navigational or vessel operational threats, including a recent initiative aimed at improving Navigation Aids throughout the Pacific.
Board of Directors
IFAN’s non-executive Board of Directors comprises members representing organisations that are the end-users of navigation aids services, thus with a vested interest in ensuring that the projects we select for funding assist seaborne world trade. Our Board currently includes representatives of major oil and gas producers, the transporters of these commodities as well as container and bulk operators.
Mr Sultan was appointed as a Director in May 1996 and took his role as Chairman in November 2016. Formerly Group Chief Executive of Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) and Executive Chairman / CEO of Dragon Oil Plc., Mr. Sultan is now Chairman of Riverside Investments LLC and of Neptune Energy Trading LLC. He is also a Board Member of Dubai Investments. He is a Chartered Civil Engineer and a Member of the British Institution of Civil Engineers and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.
Mr. Blakey was appointed as a Director in March 2002. Spending nearly 30 years in the textile industry and concluding that aspect of his business career as Deputy Chairman of Martello Textile Company Ltd. Subsequently combined careers in property investment and public service, he was Chairman of two hospital trusts in the South East of England.
Mr. Brummer was appointed as a Director in February 2009. Currently he is Director of Operations with Maersk Line West Central Asia. He started his seagoing career in 1977 as Deck Officer and since 1986 has held various management positions in operational roles.
Appointed a director in May 2017. He is presently Chief Operating Officer and director of BP Shipping Limited, accountable for day to day operational, technical and commercial leadership of BP’s shipping team. He has worked in a variety of business, commercial, finance and corporate roles for BP since graduating from Loughborough University in 1986 with a first class degree in Engineering Science and Technology. He is a chartered engineer, and a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.
Captain John Hughes
Appointed a director in November 2008. Formerly Operations Vice President and Director of Exxon’s international oil and gas tanker fleet; from 1999 to 2004 Director of the Oil Companies International Maritime Forum. He is a Fellow of the Nautical Institute, Past Chairman of Maritime CHIRP, Past Master of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, Past Chairman and Trustee of the Shipwrecked Mariners Society, Younger Brother of Trinity House and in 2018 awarded the Merchant Navy Medal.
Yousef Yacoub Al Saqer
Mr. Al Saqer was appointed as a Director in November 2010. He is presently Acting Manager Fleet Operations KOTC, having joined the company in 1996 as Navigation Officer, leading to Master onboard V.L.C.C.’s, LPG and Product tankers. He has served in numerous roles on shore in Fleet Marine operations and Marine Affairs and risk assessment. He holds a Bsc in Maritime Transport Technology and is a Master Mariner.
Mr. Koyama was appointed as a Director in May 2013. He is presently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NYK Ship Management Pte Ltd, having previously held various senior management positions ashore with NYK. He is a Master Mariner.
Mr. Evans was appointed as a Director in August 2013. He is currently Global Manager Shipping Emergency Response, Shell Transport & Trading Company. Prior to this appointment he was Fleet Manager, Shell Tankers Australia. Following a sea career up to the rank of Master within Shell, Captain Evans gained wide experience within senior marine positions ashore.
Alan Marsh MBE FICS
Mr Marsh was appointed to the Board in August 2018. He is a Trustee and Council Member of MSSC, a Council Member of RNLI , a non executive shipping advisor and consultant to Time Investments, and the Easygroup and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers for whom he is a former President.He is a Younger Brother of Trinity House , Past Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights and formerly CEO of Braemar Shipping Group PLC as well as a Director of ITIC. He was made a MBE in the 2019 New Year Honours.