Voyage Data Recorders (VDR)

Voyage Data Recorders (VDR) are devices that collect, process and record sensor data from ships to provide valuable insight following an incident. They are essentially black boxes for the maritime industry, crafted to identify the cause of marine accident and contribute to prevention.

VDRs and SVDRs are required to be installed on all ships that have a gross tonnage of 3,000 or greater that was built on or after July 1st 2002. A VDR/S-VDR is a fixed electronic storage medium that is tamper-proof that is enclosed in a capsule that is capable of enduring the pressures and shocks that come to a marine event such as collision, fire or sinking.

The system is designed to collect data from various shipboard sensors, and then digitize and compress it, and then store it in an externally mounted protective storage unit. The tamperproof capsule is designed to withstand the extreme heat, shock, impact and pressures that could be encountered in a marine incident like a collision or fire.

Members may want to upgrade their VDR/SVDR systems so they can keep the data for a longer duration. Currently, IMO performance standards only require that VDR/SVDRs keep data for 12 hours after an incident.

A growing number of companies are now offering a “MantaDigital” S-VDR, which can be accessed remotely similar to the way that airlines’ FDR data is analyzed after an incident. This enables onboard technical issues to be diagnosed remotely and aids in the implementation of proactive maintenance procedures. Regular shoreside playbacks assist bridge teams in analyzing patterns in their performance and identifying opportunities for improvement.

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