MARINE EQUIPMENT CERTIFICATION (MED) WHEELMARK MARKING
WHAT IS THE IMO MARINE EQUIPMENT CERTIFICATE?
The IMO certificate is required for materials, elements and equipment that are included on board vessels or marine equipment and complies with the requirements set out in Directive 2014/90/EU (MED, Marine Equipment Directive). The Marine Equipment Directive covers any vessel in the member states of the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA).
The MED certificate certifies that an item of marine equipment has passed a series of checks, tests and trials in accordance with international standards and is approved for use on board ships.
The certification, commonly called “wheelmark” and marks the equipment as suitable. Once certification has been obtained through a Notified Body, the manufacturer of the product must affix the wheelmark visibly on the product itself, or where this is not possible, on the accompanying documents. The marking includes the identification number of the Notified Body and the year of issue year in which the mark is affixed.
INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANISATION, IMO
The International Maritime Organisation, IMO, is the United Nations’ specialised agency dealing with the safety and security of international shipping and the prevention of pollution from ships. It currently has 175 Member States.
IMO, through the SOLAS Convention (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) establishes minimum standards for the construction, equipment, and use of ships, for the safety of life at sea. The European Union implements this regulatory framework through the Marine Equipment Directive 2014/90/EU together with the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1158.
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WHO CAN ISSUE THE MARINE EQUIPMENT CERTIFICATION?
Conformity assessment of this type of certificate can be carried out by a Notified Body.
AITEX is a Notified Body for the conformity assessment of marine equipment in terms of fire safety. AITEX is accredited by the Spanish National Accreditation Body (ENAC) as a Marine Equipment Certification Body according to ISO/IEC 17065:2012 in the regulatory scope (Directive 2014/90/EU) and under the conformity assessment schemes: Module B (EU Type Examination), Module F (Conformity to type based on product control) and Module D (Conformity to type based on Quality Assurance of the production process).
WHAT PRODUCTS CAN WE CERTIFY WITH WHEELMARK?
AITEX is a Notified Body for the conformity assessment of Marine Equipment for fire safety. The following products can be certified by AITEX and awarded the wheelmark necessary for a product to be brought on board.
MED/3.1: Primary roof coverings.
MED/3.3: Fire-fighting equipment: Protective clothing (immediate proximity).
MED/3.5: Firefighting equipment: Gloves.
MED/3.13: Non-combustible materials.
MED/3.18: Surfaces and floor coverings with low flame spread characteristics.
MED/3.19: Upholstery, curtains, and other hanging textiles.
MED/3.20: Upholstered furniture.
MED/3.21: Bedding articles.
AITEX is the Notified Body number 0161 assigned by the European Commission for the conformity assessment procedures of certain products: CE marking
The certification process starts with a Module B, EC Type Examination during which, the Notified Body assesses that the prototype being certified complies with the applicable requirements, focusing on the product tests and technical documentation. Once the conformity of the documentation provided by the applicant has been established, a certificate is issued with a 5-year expiry date. The product cannot be marked or introduced onto a vessel without being accompanied by a Module F or D certificate.
Module F is conformity to type based on product verification. In other words, it assesses whether the final product complies with the requirements and that it conforms to the requirements described in the Module B certification process. This requires an on-site visit during which, the production is monitored batch by batch, a sample is taken and conformity is checked by testing, and other requirements if necessary. If the process complies with the certification requirements, the batches of product declared for verification can be marked with the Ship’s Wheel, and boarded. In this case, the certificate expires when all products in the batch have been used up.
On the other hand, it is possible to opt for a certification process based on quality assurance, i.e.
Module D. The Notified Body has to assess the quality management system applied to the product being certified by means of an on-site audit of the production process. The company must carry out checks at the beginning, middle and end of the production process to verify that the product complies with the international requirements and in particular with safety aspects. The certificate will be valid for three years, although a re-evaluation audit will be carried out annually. Through this certification process, the entire production of the certified product can be marked with the Ship’s Wheel rather than being limited to specific batches.
Applicants for certifications of this type of products commit themselves to the signing of the formal request for certification to comply with the obligations that apply within their activities and are found both in current legislation, as in ISO / IEC 17065 : 2012, which are detailed in the document: Marine Equipment Certification Agreement
All certificates issued by the Notified Bodies for marine equipment in Europe are obliged to incorporate the certificates issued in the MarED database, this information is public and gives visibility to the companies that comply with the requirements.
Once the B+F or B+D certification has been obtained, the company must make the EU Declaration of Conformity, an essential document together with the certificates and labelling to place a product on the market.