Several international regulations apply to the construction and operation of a ship that is to sail worldwide. These regulations lay down requirements for certain types of ships (such as ferries, cruise ships, container ships) in international waters. In addition to requirements for the actual ships, requirements apply for marine equipment.
The assessment as to whether the ships or the marine equipment actually meets the requirements of the international regulations is carried out by the flag states. For example, if a ship is to fly the European flag (Germany, France, Italy or others), the respective flag state must check whether the requirements laid down in the regulations are met by the ship and its equipment.
The requirements of the regulations must be assessed by each member state of the EU on the basis of appropriate testing standards. In order to ensure a uniform assessment throughout the EU and thus a uniform level of safety, the EU has created a binding European set of rules for marine equipment: The Marine Equipment Directive (MED).
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and other international organisations define in their regulations, inter alia, the type and extent of equipment required on seagoing ships:
- SOLAS Convention
The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea lays down an international minimum standard for the safety of merchant ships.
- MARPOL Convention
The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships contains, inter alia, requirements for equipping ships with such facilities.
- Ballast Water Convention
The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments regulates, among other things, the handling of ballast water and the approval of ballast water treatment systems.
- Cape Town Agreement 2012
The Cape Town Agreement of 2012 for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, , implementing the Torremolinos Protocol of 1993 to the 1977 Torremolinos International Convention on the Safety of Fishing Vessels, contains the main provisions for equipping fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and above. The Convention has not yet entered into force.
- Collision prevention rules: COLREG
The Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea serve to prevent collisions between ships. They apply to all ships, including recreational craft.
- Radio Regulations
The Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) regulate radio services and radio frequency use at the international level.
- European Marine Equipment Directive
The Marine Equipment Directive MED defines, among other things, the requirements for marine equipment on the European market. The applicable testing standards are specified in the relevant implementing act.
International standardisation organisations
International technical organizations develop specifications for the technical field. As a rule, these are implemented bindingly by national laws, directives or regulations (at EU or national level). International technical specifications are issued, for example, by the following organisations:
- International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
- European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)
- Comité Européen de Normalisation (CEN)
- European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization
Comité Européen de Normalisation Électrotechnique (CENELEC)