Free movement of goods is one of the cornerstones within the European Union. However, there are certain requirements to live up to before putting EU’s trade agreements into practice. Many of these requirements concern safety at sea. In the marine shipping industry, the equipment on a vessel must be certified according to the Marine Equipment Directive. This is the third and last article in my article series that describes classification, type approval and MED-certificate.
European Union directive concerning equipment on board vessels
The Marine Equipment Directive (MED) is a European Union directive concerning authorized equipment on board EU flagged merchant vessels. The directive applies to all vessels operating in international shipping that originates from the member states of the European Union, including all EEA-states. EU has a mutual recognition agreement with the United States, where defined and listed components are covered. For a manufacturer of these defined components, a MED certificate also qualifies these products for the US market. The directive covers lifeboats and their engines, life vests, navigation equipment, radio communication equipment and hoses containing flammable liquids, to name a few. When marine equipment is approved according to the Marine Equipment Directive, it receives a MED-certificate.
MED-certificates allow for a more efficient and harmonized legislation process
MED-certificates are issued by classification societies, which are the EU-commission’s notified bodies. Classification societies also issue classifications. In order for a vessel to be classified, the engines need to be type approved. A type-approved engine fulfills all demands based on IMO’s SOLAS convention and/or HSC 2000 Code. The requirements from IMO’s SOLAS convention are incorporated in the Marine Equipment Directive. If a vessel’s equipment is MED-certified, it means that the same equipment doesn’t need to be approved again, in order to be classified. A classification society can simply do the classing process by looking up authorized products listed in the MarED database. Basically, a MED-certificate allows for a more efficient and harmonized legislation process with help from a single classification society.
A lifeboat engine needs to live up to specific functional requirements
The MED-certificate consists of two different certifications that a vessel’s equipment must comply to. The first certification, which applies to the specific product, is comparable to the process of type approval where the product must meet specific functional requirements. A lifeboat engine, for example, must be able to start in cold temperatures. It must also be able to start in the air before the boat reaches the water. The second certification puts high demands on the manufacturer’s quality system. The quality system is monitored during the manufacturing phase and results in a quality certification. These two certifications are required in order to uphold a MED-certificate. When the equipment receives a MED-certificate, the products are marked with a wheel mark. Together with each product follows a declaration proving that the product fulfills IMO’s requirements and that a notified body has approved the product.
Secure the product quality and avoid multiple certifications within EU
The aim with the MED-certificate is to secure the quality and safety of the products as well as avoid multiple certifications within EU. The directive implements harmonized rules and regulations. It puts high-quality requirements on the supplier. That increases the possibility for the operators to receive a safe, functional and well-produced component. To maintain a MED-certificate, the people operating on the vessel are required to keep their equipment in good shape and to hold and store all declarations on board the vessel. The advantages with MED-certification are clear requirements. Even if the rules are EU-based they are also applied, to a large extent, on a global level. There are on-going quality follow-ups, and if there are any changes on a product, they need to be tested and notified.
Volvo Penta provides equipment to the marine shipping industry
Marine equipment must be certified according to the Marine Equipment Directive to be able to operate on a vessel with a state flag following EU-regulations. The marine shipping industry consists of countless rules, regulations, certifications and exceptions. Hopefully, by reading my article series about classification, type approval and MED-certification, you have gained some new knowledge that can be useful to you in your everyday business.
This was the third and last article in my article series about classification, type approval and MED-certification. Please contact us if you have any questions. Comment below, reach out to us in our social media channels or contact me directly. We want to hear what you have to say! And of course, don’t forget to pop by our website for more information about Volvo Penta.