IFAN maritime activities buoy and boat

IFAN activities

Supporting the maritime community

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 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), IFAN has also provided technical and management services to Oman up to the end of 2020 when the Sultanate assumed full 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 World-Wide 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 educational, industry or geographical maritime issue requires support, such as research into maritime navigational or vessel operational threats, including a recent initiative aimed at improving Navigation Aids throughout the Pacific.


IFAN is open to consider new activities to support the maritime community which are in line with its objectives. If you wish to submit a funding proposal, please use IFAN’s project proposal template which can be found by clicking the link here, and send the completed form to info@ifan-maritime.org. Alternatively, you can contact IFAN by clicking the link here

marine safety and environment

Safety and Environment

Enhancing maritime safety and protecting the marine environment through the provision of international standard Aids to Navigation (AtoN) is the core to IFAN’s mission. It allows safe passage for vessels and protects marine life.

In order for mariners and waterways’ users to determine their position with respect to land and to navigate around hazards or dangers, efficient maritime safety measures are of paramount importance. Parallelly, safely marked waterways pre-empt maritime incidents to happen, thus protecting the marine environment and its resources, vital for all life on Earth. Shipping is the life blood of the global economy, being the main transport mode for global trade, with around 90% of traded goods carried over the ocean. Moreover, for many developing countries worldwide, maritime transport is often the only means to accessing education, food provisioning and health services. To ensure that global and domestic maritime trade is safe, it is of paramount importance to utmost guarantee reliable shipping routes.

The Ocean also feeds us, regulates our climate, and generates most of the oxygen we breathe. Preserving its environment is vital for all life on Earth. IFAN’s objectives are centred towards the enhancement of maritime safety and the protection of marine environment, through the funding of global activities that are in line with its same goals.

menas logo


Middle East Navigation Aids Service

MENAS is IFAN’s operating branch in the Middle Eastern Gulf. The operation of 54 Aids to Navigation assets and marine safety information for the region are coordinated from MENAS’s base in Bahrain.

The Middle East Navigation Aids Service (MENAS) is the registered trading name in the Middle East Gulf and is a wholly owned branch office of IFAN. For over 100 years, MENAS has played a major role in the safety of shipping and in the development of Aids to Navigation infrastructure throughout the Gulf waters. MENAS currently provides vital services for the maritime safety and protection of the marine environment in the Middle East Gulf, such as the provision and maintenance of Aids to Navigation (AtoN); the operation of an air differential global positioning system (DGPS) and an Automatic Identification System (AIS); the coordination of a NAVTEX service for NAVAREA IX (the Middle East Gulf and its Approaches); the provision of engineering services to port authorities and private sector industry with marine infrastructure requirements and the provision of IALA’s Level 2 Aids to Navigation training. To know more about MENAS, please visit its website.

IFAN capability and enhancement

Capability Enhancement

Twinned with the provision of Aids to Navigation (AtoN) is the use, operation, and provision of capability enhancement through training and education. IFAN ensures that global standards are followed.

IFAN provides resources and funding to support and promote activities that make a significant contribution to enhancing all aspects of marine navigation including educational or skill-based initiatives, worldwide. These include third parties’ delivery of capability enhancement initiatives and, more recently, IALA Level 2 and 3 technicians training delivered in the Middle East.

Past and current funded activities

IFAN provides support to activities worldwide whose goals are in line with IFAN’s charitable objectives.

Pacific Safety of Navigation project

The Pacific Safety of Navigation project is implemented since 2016 by the Pacific Community (SPC), the largest regional development organization in the South Pacific, a region heavily dependent upon marine transport, but poorly supplied with Aids to Navigation (AtoN). The Pacific Safety of Navigation Project is currently in its Phase 3, whose aim is to assist Pacific Island Countries to establish a sustainable funding model for the provision of AtoN. The project has to date collected important results, including International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) Simplified Risk Assessments carried out in target countries, capacity building programs and trainings such as two IALA level 1 Aids to Navigation (AtoN) Manager trainings, in-country technical trainings on AtoN maintenance and maritime safety information, AtoN infrastructure development, AtoN regulation and policy development and economic sustainability initiatives. To know more about the Pacific Safety of Navigation project, please visit the dedicated webpage.

International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) World-Wide Academy (WWA)

The IALA World-Wide Academy was established in 2012 and its work has been supported by IFAN ever since. The Academy is an integral but independently funded part of IALA and acts as a vehicle by which IALA delivers education, training and capacity building around marine Aids to Navigation, thus enabling National Authorities to meet their States’ respective obligations under IMO SOLAS Conventions. IALA WWA’s mission is that “all coastal States can fulfil the obligations related to Marine Aids to Navigation placed upon them in SOLAS Chapter V; and that all coastal States can claim conformance with relevant IALA Standards”. To know more about IALA WWA’s work, please visit the dedicated webpage.

The Nautical Institute

The Nautical Institute is a non-governmental organisation with consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Its aim is to promote professionalism, best practice and safety throughout the maritime industry and to represent the interests of its members.
IFAN has been supporting a significant outreach programme that The Nautical Institute uses to promote the improvement in navigators’ technical skills. To know more about the Nautical Institute’s work, please visit the dedicated webpage.

The CHIRP Charitable Trust (CHIRP)

The CHIRP Charitable Trust provides an independent and confidential incident and near-miss reporting programme, whose aim is improving safety at sea for mariners worldwide. CHIRP investigates every report and publishes its anonymised findings to raise awareness of safety issues. IFAN has been supporting the administrative work of CHIRP. To know more about CHIRP’s work, please visit the dedicated webpage.

Marine Society and Sea Cadets (MSSC)

The Marine Society and Sea Cadets (MSSC) is a UK Charity whose mission is to enable seafarers access to learning and progression to realise their full potential. MSSC does that by focusing on educational development, financial support, while also providing resources, advice and guidance. IFAN has been supporting MSSC’s work to develop and commission teaching modules to improve mathematical, English language and marine vocational skills amongst mariners. To know more about the Marine Society and Sea Cadets’ work, please visit the dedicated webpage.

Malacca and Singapore Straits

The Aids to Navigation Fund (ANF) for the Malacca and Singapore Straits was established to support the maintenance and replacement of Aids to Navigation (AtoN) in one of the busiest straits in the world, thus ensuring safety at sea and the protection of the marine environment. IFAN has been supporting the work of the Aids to Navigation Fund (ANF) for the Malacca and Singapore Straits since inception, thus contributing a major proportion of the total funding required to meet the costs of a 10-year refurbishment programme of infrastructure and operations. IFAN actively monitors the ongoing programme of AtoN maintenance and improvement through participation in the Aids to Navigation Fund Committee.