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The European Union (EU) issued a directive in 1996 to ensure the quality of equipment on board seafaring vessels. This directive (Marine Equipment Directive 96/98/EC) applies to the following areas: rescue equipment, fire protection and protection of the marine environment.

Marine equipment that is supposed to be deployed on ships must be approved by a designated authority (in our case: the trade association’s Ship Safety Division) following an EC-conformity assessment procedure before it can be brought on board seafaring vessels or installed on them. Following certification, this equipment must be marked with the symbol of a ship’s wheel, representing conformity, the identification number of the designated authority (Ship Safety Division = 0736) and the last two digits of the year of manufacture. At regular, defined intervals, ship equipment that has already been approved must also undergo the conformity procedure again.

A mutual recognition agreement (MRA) relating to tests and approvals has been in place between the EU and the USA since 2004 in line with Directive 96/98/EC. The ship’s equipment to which this agreement applies is listed. In the USA, the assessment procedure is carried out by the U.S. Coast Guard.

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