9/22/2017: What happens to Coast Guard Type Approval when a manufacturer goes out of business?

Submitted by the Marine Safety Center

The Coast Guard requires certain equipment used on board ships to be type approved. A list of types of equipment and the approvals can be found on the Coast Guard’s Maritime Information Exchange. But what happens if a manufacturer of approved equipment goes out of business?

All equipment manufactured during the validity of the type approval certificate remains “Approved” as long as it is manufactured, installed, and operated according to the terms of the type approval certificate. Any maintenance and repairs to this equipment must also be performed in accordance with the manuals and components specified as part of the type approval. If the equipment fails to operate and parts from the original equipment manufacturer are no longer available, then the equipment is no longer operating under its type approval and must be replaced.

Type approval certificates are issued for five years. After five years, only the manufacturer listed on the certificate can request renewal, unless otherwise transferred as noted below.  After a period of five years, if not renewed, the certificate will be placed in an “Expired” status. At this point, the product is no longer approved for production, but items manufactured prior to the expiration of the approval remain “Approved” as described above.

If another company purchases the original manufacturer and wants to retain type approval, the company must contact the Coast Guard to request that the certificate be updated to reflect the name and address of the new company. The certificate will be updated with a revision number, and the previous number issued to the original manufacturer will be marked “Former-May Use.” This allows any equipment manufactured by the original manufacturer during the period of validity of the certificate to continue to be installed. Further, the new entity can continue to produce the system as long as it is manufactured, installed, and operated according to the terms of the type approval certificate. If the new entity intends to make changes to the design, then they must do so in accordance with the requirements for changes to approved systems in 46 CFR 162.060-16.

Equipment type approvals are issued by multiple Coast Guard entities. For further questions about specific equipment, please contact either the Coast Guard Marine Safety Center at (202) 795-6729, the Coast Guard Systems Engineering Division (CG-ENG-3) at (202) 372-1375, or the Coast Guard Lifesaving and Fire Safety Division (CG-ENG-4) via email at TypeApproval@uscg.mil.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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