Voyage Data Recorders (VDR)

Voyage data recorders (VDR) collect, process and store shipboard sensor data to provide valuable insight in the aftermath of a marine incident. They are basically black boxes designed to help determine the causes of marine accidents and contribute to their prevention.

VDRs and SVDRs are required to be installed on all vessels that have a gross tonnage of 3,000 or more that was built after July 1 2002. A VDR/S-VDR is a digital storage medium that is not tamperproof encased in a capsule that is able to withstand the pressures and shocks that come with marine incidents such as collision, fire or sinking.

The system is designed to collect data from a variety sensors aboard a vessel as well as compressing and digitizing it before storing it in an enclosure that is secured externally. The tamperproof capsule was designed to withstand the extreme shock, impact, heat and pressures that may be encountered in a marine incident like a collision, or fire.

Members may wish to consider upgrading their VDR/SDR systems to allow them to retain data for longer durations. At present, IMO performance standards only require that the VDR/SVDR be kept in data for 12 hours following an incident.

A growing number of companies are now offering a 'MantaDigital' S-VDR which can be interrogated remotely in the same way that airlines' FDR data is analyzed post-incident. This enables onboard technical issues to be detected remotely and supports the implementation of proactive maintenance procedures. Regular shoreside playbacks assist bridge teams in analyzing the patterns of their performance and identifying areas for improvement.


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