Testing of equipment and devices used on Coast Guard vessels need to be tested in accordance with Coast Guard specifications by a laboratory accredited by an ILAC MRA signatory accreditation body.
This policy decision cited scheduling delays and increased expenses as a reason for using laboratories accredited by an ILAC Signatory rather than the use of Coast Guard-employed inspectors. Additionally, the USCG called out the modern trading system where many manufacturers produce lifesaving equipment for multiple-flag vessels, and must have their equipment approved by each nation. Using third-party accredited testing laboratories would allow manufacturers to satisfy requirements from multiple nations, which avoids the need for duplicative tests.
Kurt Heinz, chief, life saving and fire safety, U.S. Coast Guard on the benefit of the ILAC MRA:
“Obviously, avoiding duplicative tests saves a lot of time. A lot of the safety materials we use in ship construction, like the fire-resistant coatings we use on bulkheads and other areas, are manufactured in Europe and Asia, so being able to accept and depend on test results from labs in those countries makes sense. And, less time spent doing routine approval work translates into more time spent on policy and standard development – which is a good thing.”