USCG Office of Design and Engineering Standards recently published a circular to provide guidance concerning the Marine Equipment Approvals Covered by a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA).
To remind, back in 2019, the United States of America (US) signed a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) for the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Conformity for Marine Equipment.
Specifically, this agreement became effective upon the completion of the UK’s transition out of the EU on January 1, 2021. This MRA is parallel to the previously signed MRAs between the US and the European Community (EC), and the US and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, which are part of the European Economic Area (EEA).
The agreements allow reciprocal approvals to be given by the US and the other Party for certain marine products where it has been found that the approval process is identical or the equipment has equivalent requirements.
In light of the above, USCG provides a summary on the most crucial parts concerning the US - EC MRA and the US – EEA EFTA MRA. For example:
- The MRA (Annex II) specifically identifies which items are covered.
- The US – UK MRA went into effect on January 1, 2021.
- The USCG will not accept a UK or European mark of conformity in lieu of USCG approval numbers on U.S. flag ships. Instead, the MRA provides a means to obtain USCG approval for eligible products from UK Approval Bodies, European Notified Bodies, as applicable.
- Equipment that receives a USCG approval number from a UK Approval Body or European Notified Body under the MRA can be installed onboard a US flag vessel where applicable.
- Equipment that receives the UK mark of conformity from the USCG under the MRA can be installed where applicable onboard a UK flag vessel.
- Equipment that receives the European mark of conformity from the USCG under the MRA can be installed where applicable onboard a European flag vessel of a country that is a member of the EU or the EEA EFTA.
- A manufacturer having a UK or European mark of conformity will make application for USCG approval to the UK Approval Body or European Notified Body that issued the certificates authorizing the mark of conformity or they can apply to the USCG and receive a certificate under the MRA.
- A manufacturer having a USCG approval will make application for the UK and/or European mark of conformity to the Coast Guard or can cancel the current USCG approval and apply for an approval of the product from a UK Approval Body or European Notified Body under the MRA.