Past Event

Marine Equipment Directive Workshop TAIEX

Brussels, Belgium
February 27, 2008

The Marine Equipment Directive: its implementation and revision

DG Transport and Energy had - by the end of 2007 - raised the question of giving the Marine Equipment Directive some kind of a face-lift after ten years of existence. The Marine Equipment Directive covers the most critical safety related, statutory equipment carried on board ships flying the flag of European member states (plus Norway and Iceland) which have to meet certain IMO conventions. The purpose of the directive was “. . . to enhance safety at sea and the prevention of marine pollution through the uniform application of the relevant international instruments”. The Directive also intended to ensure the free movement of the listed equipment within the European Union.

EMSA European Maritime Safety Agency was authorised by the European Commission to monitor the stakeholder meetings, help formulating the legislative proposals whilst providing an impact study for an amendment of the MED according to the following time scale:


  • Consultation with all stakeholders - end of May 2008
  • Draft version of the fifth Amendment - end of June 2008
  • fifth Amendment draft reviewed - middle of June 2008
  • Final version of the fifth Amendment - end of July 2008
  • Submission to the European Commission - 1August 2008
  • Endorsement by Member States - December 2008


The main actors involved in the Marine Equipment Directive are:


  • the equipment manufacturers
  • the Notified Bodies
  • the Member States (Flag States)
  • the European Commission


The MED desperately needs an improvement of its control mechanisms! The NBs Notified Bodies have turned out to be the most problematic elements in the equation, and as a consequence those who accredit them – the MS Member States. Notified Bodies need to be strictly controlled to ensure that they do rigorous audits of the companies which they furnish with their certificates. However, the criteria for notification and evaluation of Notified Bodies by the Member States are diverse and so is the enforcement of IPRs Intellectual Property Rights.

It is not sufficient to force Notified Bodies to sign declarations in which they confirm:


  • not to be directly involved in the design, manufacture, marketing or maintenance of the product they certify
  • to swear them in on impartiality and the highest degree of professional integrity
  • to declare themselves to be free from all pressures and inducements but also to consider it as an imperative prerequisite to provide the highest level of proven (documented) competence in the field of marine equipment


With regard to IPR and the conformity assessment processes carried out by Notified Bodies, there should be a uniform obligation clause that NBs will keep confidential and not use or disclose to any third party outside their organisation any know-how, know-what, know-why, data, plan or technical information received from the client or collected during the tests of the product except as may be required by law or as may be authorised by the client.
This obligation will have to survive the termination of the contract.

The marine equipment industry does not only have increasing concerns about transfer of know-how and counterfeiting of its products. Industry is feeling more and more uncomfortable about the counterfeiting of certificates.

Both - authentication of products and certificates are becoming an imperative necessity for the genuine European manufacturers of marine equipment!

The MED and the MRA should become synonyms for mutual recognition of certificates of conformity for marine equipment, cost reductions, easier market access to the Internal Market and facilitation of EC - US trade in marine equipment! They should not be vehicles for technology transfer!

With Martin Uhlig from bst and AMEM’s John Kuehmayer, Austrian equipment manufacturers were quite well represented in this stakeholder meeting, which was so perfectly organised by EMEC’s Paola Lancellotti and so professionally chaired by Michael Prehn from the Danish Maritime Authority.

James Wood, Policy Advisor, EMSA
Jesus Bonet Company, Expert, DG Transport, European Commission
Michael Prehn, Deputy Director, Danish Maritime Authority
Pim van Gulpen, Chairman EMEC

James Wood, Policy Advisor, EMSA

Frank van Bouwelen, Hoffmann-Eitle

Hans Beele, Beele Engineering
Erik Tvedt, Danish Maritime Authority

Gustav Henriksen, Association of Norwegian Marine Industries