The requirement came into force on January 1 of this year, after a transition period of 2 years, with the maritime industry choosing to depart from the actions of other government departments.
The decision, for all marine equipment going on board UK-flagged vessels to have been awarded a UK mark denoting quality and safety, complies with an International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirement for all safety equipment and counter pollution equipment on ships to be approved by that ship’s flag administration.
The only exceptions are that equipment defined as a ‘spare’ part is still allowed as well as EU-approved equipment manufactured before 1 January 2023, provided they fulfil certain additional criteria.
The new rules will allow the UK to diverge from the EU when necessary, allowing the UK to be more adaptable to the needs of industry while implementing IMO requirements. The UK no longer has a mechanism to feed into the approval or discussion around the implementation of standards within the EU and it was determined that continuing to accept EU approved equipment could risk the UK not meeting its international obligations.
The UK having its own marine equipment system of approvals means that it will be more able to comply with international requirements as they continue to change and develop and act accordingly. This, by its very nature, is different to how most other product sectors operate.
The maritime industry made clear that the certainty of maintaining the deadline was crucial as the equipment sector had already invested in getting ready for the implementation of a UK regime and it became a requirement at the start of the year.
Since the UK began implementing its own marine equipment regime, we have been able to comply with IMO implementation dates regarding the implementation of specific standards for some types of marine equipment, while other flag administrations have not met these dates.Pete Rollason, Ship Construction and Equipment Lead at the MCA
The UK has a Mutual Recognition Agreement in place with the US administration for certain types of marine equipment. This means that conformity assessment bodies in either market can assess goods for the other market and issue the relevant approvals for the other market.
The UK continues to scope out other potential trade deals.
The UK approved marine equipment database is updated monthly and can be found on GOV.UK.
Please visit the marine equipment page on GOV.UK, where you can find all of the information and guidance relating to marine equipment for UK ships.