The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a new directive on marine equipment (the “MED”). Marine equipment represents a significant fraction of the value of a ship, and its quality and good operation are critical for the safety of the ship and its crew, as well as for the prevention of maritime accidents and pollution of the marine environment. The marine equipment industry is a high added-value sector with high levels of investment in research and development.

Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of transport, Siim Kallas stressed that “this new legislation will mean improved safety of EU vessels and their crews, the prevention of maritime accidents with a positive impact on the marine environment, and a boost for the marine equipment industry with the creation of jobs and growth.”

Marine equipment is any equipment that is placed on board a ship. The marine equipment sector constitutes the key supply industry of shipyards and the whole maritime industry, including offshore activities. It comprises a wide range of products and service categories, from navigational equipment to propulsion/power systems, and from cargo equipment to safety and life-saving systems (such as lifeboats, lifejackets, etc.).

With this proposal the Commission aims at simplifying the regulatory environment, thereby reducing costs for business and ensuring better application. As such, the reform will contribute to a proper functioning of the internal market and strengthen the competitiveness of EU industry. The proposal will also introduce provisions on the control of “notified bodies” – i.e. certifiers – and market surveillance, as well as obligations for manufacturers, importers and distributors (with certain adjustments specific for the marine equipment sector).

Furthermore the wheel mark, which is a specific mark for demonstrating that the equipment installed on board of a ship complies with the IMO/MED requirements for marine equipment, has been retained. The possibility to supplement or replace it with electronic tags has been opened, in order to facilitate the inspection of ships calling at an EU port, as well as to help combat counterfeiting.

Finally, the proposal will significantly improve the implementation of IMO standards within the EU, reduce safety risks and facilitate the smooth functioning of the internal market for marine equipment, by shortening and simplifying the procedures for transposition of amendments to those standards.

Marine equipment in a nutshell

The EU remains a world leader in this sector, with an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 companies and close to 300,000 direct jobs.

The European marine equipment industry is a high value added sector. Europe acts as a net exporter. The global market share of the marine equipment sector in Europe is higher than the share of ship construction, reflecting the strong export position of this sector (export share of 46%).

The value of marine equipment constitutes 40-80% of the value of a new ship, depending on the type of vessel.

What happens next?

The Commission’s proposal will be considered by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. Once agreed, the revised MED will become EU law.

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