Article 10 (1) of Regulation EC 391/2009 states:
“Recognised organisations shall consult with each other periodically with a view to maintaining equivalence and aiming for harmonisation of their rules and procedures and the implementation thereof. They shall cooperate with each other with a view to achieving consistent interpretation of the international conventions, without prejudice to the powers of the flag States. Recognised organisations shall, in appropriate cases, agree on the technical and procedural conditions under which they will mutually recognise the class certificates for materials, equipment and components based on equivalent standards, taking the most demanding and rigorous standards as the reference.”
SEA Europe interprets Article 10, applicable since June 2009, as pursuing the objective of improving the quality and the efficiency of classification through the consolidation of the existing body of class rules and the rationalisation of the current certification practices.
To achieve these objectives, the Regulation entrusts EU Recognised Organisations (ROs) with two tasks:
- Setting up a consultation mechanism with the aim of achieving harmonisation of rules and procedures and their interpretation. The work towards a homogenous system of class rules extends also to the interpretation of international conventions.
- To define the conditions for mutual recognition of certificates, i.e. the possibility that a RO relies on the tests and surveys carried out by another RO, whose results are therein incorporated in the certificates issued by the latter, rather than repeating those tests and surveys in order to issue a new certificate.
Regulation EC 391/2009 provides a clear indication of the timeframe for which ROs are expected to deliver results in the implementation of Article 10 (1): pursuant to Article 10 (2), by 17 June 2014. The Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the level of mutual recognition reached through the process of harmonising the rules for materials, equipment and components.
In view of an expected EU report on the developments of Mutual Recognition in 2014 SEA Europe will undertake a study on the ‘state of the art’ of the process from the point of view of the industry with the aim of providing input to the European Commission.