Manufacturers looking to make sure they get UK approval for the marine equipment they produce are being given a helping hand by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
It will become mandatory from 1 January next year for all new marine equipment placed on board UK vessels to have the UK approval – previously it was covered by the EU regulations.
The race is on for equipment producers to meet that deadline and – as it stands – there are not enough accredited organisations to do all the work.
Now there are plans to give the organisations – known collectively as Conformity Assessment Bodies – currently going through the accreditation process provisional approval to do the work. They will still need to get full accreditation by June 2023.
It means that the United Kingdom Accreditation Service will carry out an initial assessment of the CABs who have currently applied based on certain sections of the marine equipment regulations. As they are all organisations which had previously been EU CABs, they should already have been through a similar process previously meaning they should still be able to provide the evidence that they comply.
In the interests of fairness, the provisional appointment of CABs would also be open to CABs that are not already going through the process with UKAS, so it may attract additional applicants.
The provisional appointment should give manufacturers enough time to obtain UK approval ahead of 1 January 2023 meaning that UK flagged ships should be able to source UK approved marine equipment.
Katy Ware, Director of UK Maritime Services said: “We still need manufacturers to keep pushing ahead with the work they need to do to get UK approval for their equipment. This is just a helping hand to help them get across that line.”
On January 1, 2021 the UK mark of conformity for marine equipment – the Red Ensign – was introduced. This will become mandatory from 1 January, 2023 for all new marine equipment placed onboard UK vessels. This equipment was previously subjected to the EU’s mark of conformity for marine equipment – the Wheel Mark. The UK currently has eight UK CABs. There are four currently going through the application process.