WHAT IS SOLAS
The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is an international maritime treaty which sets minimum safety standards in the construction, equipment and operation of merchant ships. The convention requires signatory flag states to ensure that ships flagged by them comply with at least these standards.
The current version of SOLAS is the 1974 version, known as SOLAS 1974, which came into force on 25 May 1980. As of November 2018, SOLAS 1974 had 164 contracting states, which flag about 99% of merchant ships around the world in terms of gross tonnage.
SOLAS in its successive forms is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships
The first version of SOLAS Treaty was passed in 1914 in response to the sinking of the RMS Titanic, which prescribed numbers of lifeboats and other emergency equipment along with safety procedures, including continuous radio watches. The 1914 treaty never entered into force due to the outbreak of the First World War.
WHAT IS MED WHEELMARK
Marine equipment can only be installed on board ships flying the flag of an EU country, Norway, Iceland and other flag states if it is marked with the MED mark of conformity, also known as the “wheelmark”. While most EC directives require products to carrying the “CE” mark, products certified under the Marine Equipment Directive carry the “wheel mark”.
The MED sets out performance and testing standards to be met by marine equipment placed on board an EU ship.
As of 18 September 2016 the only applicable MED is Directive 2014/90/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 on marine equipment and repealing Council Directive 96/98/EC.
What does the directive cover? The directive covers types of marine equipment that fall under following International Conventions developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO):
- SOLAS 1974: Life-saving appliances/navigation equipment/radio equipment
- MARPOL 1973: Marine pollution
- COLREGS 1972: Prevention of collisions
WHAT IS CE
CE marking is a certification mark that indicates conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area (EEA). The CE marking is also found on products sold outside the EEA that are manufactured in, or designed to be sold in, the EEA. This makes the CE marking recognizable worldwide even to people who are not familiar with the European Economic Area. It is in that sense similar to the FCC Declaration of Conformity used on certain electronic devices sold in the United States.
The CE marking is the manufacturer’s declaration that the product meets the requirements of the applicable EC directives.
The mark consists of the CE logo and, if applicable, the four digit identification number of the Notified Body involved in the conformity assessment procedure.
“CE” is sometimes indicated as an abbreviation of “Conformité Européenne” (French for “European Conformity”), but is not defined as such in the relevant legislation. The CE marking is a symbol of free marketability in the European Economic Area (Internal Market).
CE vs. China Export
In recent years we’ve all got used to the fact that if a product bears the CE mark, it’s safe. The reason for this assumption is that goods with CE marking demonstrate that they meet relevant and strict EU standards. This marking brings benefit to all in the supply chain and most notably, the consumer.
Unfortunately, there exists a very similar mark which the majority of consumers and even sellers may see as the CE mark of the European Union but actually is something completely different. This “CE” mark means “China Export” and only means that the product was manufactured in China.