"The Marine Equipment Directive"

The Directive

Below paragraph is partly copied from the introduction text of the original 96/98/EC Directive and reads as follows: Because of continuous increased requirements to enhance safety in marine transportation and to prevent and/or reduce the number of shipping accidents, especially those that cause loss of human life or cause pollution of the flag Member States' seas and coastlines. The European Union has developed a Council Directive on Marine Equipment as a legal instrument to harmonize the safety requirements for equipment carried on board ships flying Member State flags.

The Marine Equipment Directive started with the 96/98/EC Directive on Marine Equipment which was adopted on December 20, 1996. This Directive was consisting of a "main" part, the actual Directive and an "annex" the A.1 List. The Directive, or more precisely the A.1 list was amended in total 11 times; the first time in November 1998, and the last time in April 2015.

The 96/98 EC Directive has been repealed by the 2014/90/EU Directive on Marine Equipment, published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 28 August 2014. This "new" Directive became effective from September 18, 2016.

Although there are considerable differences between the two Directives, the objective; improving Maritime Safety and preventing Marine Pollution remains unchanged.

Quoted from Article 1 of the 2014/90/EU Directive:

"The objective of this Directive is to enhance safety at sea and to prevent marine pollution through the uniform application of the relevant international instruments relating to marine equipment to be placed on board EU ships, and to ensure the free movement of such equipment within the Union."

As indicated above there are considerable differences, for example introduction of an electronic tag (Article 11) and the introduction of an authorised representative (Article 13) however the conformity assessment procedures, The Modules, set out in Annex II (Article 15) remain generally unchanged.

A major change however is the procedure for periodical amending of the "old" A.1 list. This "old" A.1 list was an Annex to a Directive, whereas the "new" A.1 list is a Regulation with the formal title Commission Implementing Regulation. This Regulation lists the marine equipment subject to EU Type Examination. The latest version is (EU) 2018/773 issued on May 15, 2018 and published in the Official Journal on May 30, 2018.
The main difference is that a Regulation enters into force automatically 20 days after publishing in the Official Journal, whereas a Directive needs to be incorporated in National Law before it can come into force. This new procedure allows for a faster updating and implementation of the Equipment List.

The Directive on marine equipment requires that all equipment listed in the Equipment List , placed on board an EU Flag ships shall meet the design, construction and performance requirements of the relevant international instruments at the time when the equipment is placed on board. (Article 4)

If compliance with relevant international instruments is demonstrated the manufacturer may affix the "wheel mark" (Article 9) to the equipment and shall issue an EU declaration of conformity. (Article 16)

Basically there are four routes to receive approval, these routes are consisting of following modules;

The manufacturer can choose his preferred route (Modules) taking into account the limitations as listed in column 4 "Modules for conformity assessment" from the Equipment List to the Directive. (The Commission Implementing Regulation)
For additional information click on the link Modules, or select the tab Modules above.

PS: Initially the abbreviation EC was used, like in 96/98/EC Directive, at the time of the latest revision of the Directive the abbreviation EU was introduced like in 2014/90/EU, it stands off course for European Union.