A European Commission official is on September 4 due to outline the executive’s plans for electronic tagging of marine equipment, an initiative that European manufacturers hope will both improve safety and help drive counterfeiting out of the market.
Maik Schmahl from the Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) will give the presentation at the SMM event in Hamburg. According to Sea Europe, the Brussels-based equipment association, which has been lobbying for change, electronic tags can be “better protected against counterfeiting and can offer their customers additional functions such as stock control” using radio-frequency identification and data matrix formatting.
“Once the e-tag is fully deployed, it will be easier for companies and authorities to identify incorrectly certified or obsolete equipment” said Sea Europe in an email promoting the Commission’s presentation. “In order to realise the full potential of electronic tagging, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will develop an easy to use app, which will be available for public authorities and professional users.”
Manufacturers say there is evidence of copyright abuse and the replacement of branded products with generics after they have been ordered by ship owners. This can pose liability issues if the product fails.
The Commission is expected to fold the new technology into a forthcoming update of EU safety legislation. “Legislation will require years, but the technology can be rolled out before that,” one manufacturer tells the Maritime Watch. “There is definitely a demand. There has been fraud connected with certificates; anyone can copy a certificate or just refer to it. What you need is a unique number for each component.”