Voyage Data Recorders (VDR)

Voyage Data Recorders (VDR)

Voyage Data Recorders (VDR) are devices that collect, process and record sensor data from ships to provide valuable insight after an incident. They are essentially maritime black boxes that are designed to determine the causes of marine accidents and contribute to their prevention.

VDRs and SVDRs are required to be installed on all ships with a gross weight of 3,000 or greater that was built on or after July 1 2002. A VDR/SVDR is an electronic storage device that can stand up to pressures and shocks resulting from marine events like sinking, collisions, or fire.

The system is designed to collect data from a variety sensors on a ship, digitizing and compressing it prior to storing it in an enclosed storage unit that is mounted externally. The tamperproof storage container is designed to withstand extreme heat, shock and impact as well as pressures that could be encountered during a marine accident, for example, a collision or fire.

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

A growing number of companies offer a MantaDigital S-VDR that is able to be interrogated from a distance like the way airlines’ FDR data are analyzed after an incident. This enables onboard technical issues to be diagnosed remotely and aids in the implementation of proactive maintenance processes. Regular shoreside replays enable bridge teams to identify trends in their performance, and to identify opportunities for improvement.

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