Xinde Marine News interviews Peter Stanley, CEO of IFAN, who discusses the Middles East Navigation Aids Services.
Xinde Marine News: Pls kindly make a brief introduction to MENAS and what specific contents/services does MENAS contain?
For over 100 years MENAS (Middles East Navigation Aids Services) has played a major role in the safety of shipping in the Arabian Gulf and in the development of Aids to Navigation (AtoN) infrastructure throughout the Gulf States. Formerly named the Persian Gulf Lighting Service, it was established to be the responsible authority for Aids to Navigation in the region. MENAS is a not for profit company and is not associated with any governments, unlike any other lighthouse or navigation authority in the World. MENAS provides the following services:
Aids to Navigation (AtoN)
MENAS owns and maintains an extensive network of navigation beacons, buoys and lighthouses across the Arabian Gulf and its approaches. It also provides maintenance services and quality management practices for AtoNs considered essential for international shipping and owned by governmental and port authorities throughout the Gulf.
DGPS and AIS
Since 1997, MENAS established and continues to operate a free-to-air differential global positioning system (DGPS) for the region. The Company has deployed Automatic Identification System (AIS) equipment across its equipment network to both enhance the service to mariners and improve performance monitoring of AtoNs: The MENAS Operations Centre in Bahrain records status, performance and reliability of AtoNs using the AIS system and satellite-based web monitoring.
MENAS is the Acting Sub-Area Co-ordinator for NAVAREA IX (the Arabian Gulf and its Approaches) co-ordinating a NAVTEX service within the framework of the WWNWS system established jointly by the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). NAVTEX is an international automated direct-printing service for promulgation of navigational and meteorological warnings and urgent information to ships. The system fulfils an integral role in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Notices to Mariners
Notices to Mariners provide essential, up to date information and advice to mariners navigating within the Arabian Gulf. MENAS also issues a monthly Summary of its Notices to Mariners, which ensures dissemination of information to all major hydrographic offices worldwide.
IFAN (International Foundation for Aids to Navigations)
IFAN is the parent company of MENAS and is a London based not for profit company. It objects are to promoted the safe navigation at sea through training and education. We help support organisations such as IALA, the Malacca Straights Navigation Projects, etc. from any funds after running costs.
Xinde Marine News: Compared with traditional navigation systems , for example, ECDIS, what advantages does MENAS have?
Peter: All of the aids to navigation that are provided by MENAS are traditional navigation systems by today's standard. The most accurate is the provision of the DGPS signals. These are based on multi-source GPS but are combined, re-broadcast on MF and are hence more secure and accurate. The DGPS signals are free to air for vessels below 15,000NT, ECDIS (depending on type) is designed to use the most accurate signal available be it Loran, DGPS or GPS. DGPS will remain in operation in the Gulf area until a suitable satellite providing unrestricted GPS (SBAS – space based augmented satellite system) is available as per other parts of the world. IALA conform at a recent DGPS conference in Edinburgh, Scotland in January 2020, that is was not aware of any plans to have any SBAS satellites over the gulf region.
Xinde Marine News: If shipowners pay the dues, will MENAS pay if navigation accidents occur during the service period?
Peter: Responsible shipowners have their own Protection and Indemnity (P&I) insurance for any such accidents. These are the first insurance policies that will be used. MENAS has to protect the company and has its own P&I and Marine insurance policies in place.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Xinde Marine News.
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