International LAMA had its origins in an organisation known as the Life-saving Appliance Manufacturers’ Association, (LAMA), formed in the United Kingdom in 1956. This organisation was concerned primarily with ensuring that the views of the UK lifeboat and davit manufacturers were available to the then UK Ministry of Transport.
Some years later in the early 70′s, it became apparent that the purely national approach was too narrow; it was felt that a wider international basis would be more appropriate, and that manufacturers of all forms of life saving equipment should be included. An immediate advantage of extending internationally was that the Association could then obtain Observer Status in the International Maritime Consultative Organisation (IMCO), later to become the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Discussions were held between several life-saving appliance manufacturers, all of whom traded internationally, to obtain IMCO Observer Status for the new association, and the International Life-saving Appliance Manufacturers’ Association (ILAMA) was formed.
Application to IMCO for Consultative and Observer status was made and duly granted in November 1975, approved by the 9th session of the Assembly. The Association’s first attendance at an IMCO meeting took place in their former premises in Piccadilly, London in October 1976.
Over the years, ILAMA has submitted a number of papers that have led to actual change and improvements of IMO legislation. This proves that ILAMA matters in the business of LSA.
ILAMA believes in true and fair competition amongst its members, and in equality within national and international legislative and approval procedures. This philosophy has been held from the time of its inception, and will continue to hold.
ILAMA Members are in a unique position to assess new and existing items of life-saving appliances on the market. This may include anything from totally enclosed lifeboats to lifejacket whistles – and everything in between. Over a number of years fears have grown as to the compliance of certain items to International Standards. Members hold frank and open discussions on these matters, and ILAMA seeks to ensure that any inequalities are brought to the attention of the International Community and IMO.
In 1999 there began a new era of mutually acceptable certification with the EU ‘Wheel-mark’, the Mutual Recognition Agreement between EU and USA, CEN certification and ISO certification. But also the increase in size of passenger ships, subsequent new regulations and the developments of Goal based standards emphasizes the need for close scrutiny if ILAMA is to succeed in maintaining the high level of safety for crew and passengers on board ships.
In early 2015, ILAMA negotiated ‘Category A’ liaison with the International Organisation for Standardisation (‘ISO’). ISO’s aim primarily is to create technical standards valuable in industry, commerce and science, and on a worldwide scale.
Such standards are amongst the few external standards recognised by IMO. Thus, for our members, advance knowledge of standards generation and opportunities to comment on or enhance their content is of great value.
Also during 2015 Observer Status was granted to ILAMA to attend and participate in both the EMSA MED Experts Group and MarED. This important step for ILAMA means that the Association is able to directly participate and contribute to the working of these influential bodies in a globally recognised market.
The membership of ILAMA at and shortly after its conception was mainly limited to companies producing lifeboats and associated equipment. Today we have a broad base of different companies covering the whole scope of life-saving appliances. Membership has also been extended to welcome training and testing establishments.