The EU Marine Equipment Directive (MED), what does it mean?

Herman Broers

On many pilot ladders the sign of a small steering wheel is depicted in the certificate and on the pilot ladder as well. What does that mean? The simple answer is: The steering wheel is the symbol of compliance with the EU Marine Equipment Directive. But there is much more to that. 

The steering wheel icon

In September 2016, the parliament of the European Union adopted Marine Equipment Directive (MED) 2014/90/EU. The aim of this MED is to set regulations on the standards of marine equipment onboard of EU ships. The scope of the directive is (1) SOLAS 1974: (Life-saving appliances/navigation equipment/radio equipment) and (2) MARPOL 1973: (Marine pollution COLREGS 1972: Prevention of collisions). Since pilot ladders are part of the SOLAS equipment onboard of ships, they are part of this directive as well. 

The Marine Equipment Directive 2014/90/EU was then turned into an EU Regulation: Since September 2020, the design, construction, performance requirements and testing standards for marine equipment onboard EU ships are governed by EU Annex to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1170, based directly on the above-mentioned directive. 

In section MED 4.49 of the above regulation, the following table is noted: 

Table 1: Design-, construction- and performance requirements and testing standards for pilot ladders ; (Source: COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2020/1170)

From table 1 the following can be concluded: Pilot ladders on all EU ships must comply with:

  1. For type-approval: 
    1. Solas 74 Reg V/23 (Safety of navigation) and 
    1. X/3 (Safety measures for high-speed craft) 
  2. For performance requirements:
    1. SOLAS 74 Reg. V/23, 
    1. IMO Res. A.1045(27), (i.e. the Imo Guidelines)
    1. IMO MSC/Circ.1428, (i.e. the Wheelhouse poster)
  3. Testing Standards: 
    1. IMO Res. A.1045(27), as amended
    1. ISO 799: 2004  (last placing oboard 12.8.2023; e.i. first installation of the equipment in its functional position or stowing in its functional position on board an EU ship) or
    1. ISO 799-1: 2019 (first placing on the market after 12.8.2020)
  4. Various modules of conformity assessment. (Column 6)

In other words, for EU ships, not only SOLAS V (23), but also IMO 1045 (27), the wheelhouse poster and the industry standard ISO 799 (either 2004 or 2019) are mandatory. 


LR Marine Equipment Directive home page



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