What are the requirements for VDRs?

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Radars , radios and lights on ship's gantry mast

Voyage Data Recorders- the Maritime’Black box’

A quick guide to  The SOLAS requirements

The blog now returns to the series of posts on SOLAS V with a topic that follows on nicely from the last post on MAIB accident reporting requirements.

SOLAS V-Regulation 20 – Voyage Data Recorders

Click here for the UK MCA guidance of Regulation 20>

Why are VDRs required?

To assist in casualty investigations.

VDR Capsule as shown on IMO website, click to visit the site

Click For IMO page on VDRs

Click here for the IMO page on VDRs>

Which ships require to be fitted with an SDR?

Ships, when engaged on international voyages:

  • All passenger ships
  • Ships, other than passenger ships, of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards constructed on or after 1 July 2002

Which ships must be fitted with a VDR or a simplified voyage data recorder (S-VDR)?

  • Cargo ships of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards

Non-passenger ships on or above 3000 GT built after July 2002, and all passanger ships must have a VDR. Non-passenger ships built before July 2002 must have either a VDR or SVDR.  SDRs are Simplified data recorders that have less inputs then a full VDR.

What is a VDR?

Full information can be found at:

What is a VDRs Purpose

To maintain a store, in a secure and retrievable form, information concerning the position, movement, physical status, command and control of a ship over the period leading up to and following an incident.

This information is for use during any subsequent safety investigation to identify the causes of the incident.

Click here for MSC 1024-GUIDELINES ON VOYAGE DATA RECORDER (VDR)
OWNERSHIP AND RECOVERY

Who should the VDR information be made available to?

Information contained in a VDR should be made available to both the Administration and the shipowner.

What is included within the term ‘VDR’?

The complete system, including:

  • Any items required to interface with the sources of input signals and their processing and encoding
  • The final recording medium
  • The playback equipment
  • The power supply and dedicated reserve power source

img_20160915_132855_hdr_kindlephoto-117081169.jpg

What must a VDR do?

  • Continuously maintain sequential records of pr-selected data items relating to the status and output of the ship’s equipment, and command and control of the ship
  • Allow analysis of factors surrounding an incident
  • Include functions to perform a performance test at any time

The final recording medium should consist of the following items:

  • Fixed recording medium-Capable of being accessed after an accident- maintain data for 2 years after termination
  • Float-free recording medium;-6 months after termination,this is to  transmit a homing signal
  • Long-term recording medium- Accessible internaly

What Data items are to be recorded?Main mast

  • Date and time– From an external source
  • Ship’s position-From electronic position fixing system
  • Speed– over water and over ground
  • Heading– As ship’s heading source
  • Bridge audio-Covering all bridge workstations. At least 2 channels
  • Communications audio– On separate channel
  • Radar-Main displays of both radar installations
  • ECDIS-Record the display of ECDIS in use as primary means of navigation
  • Echo sounder– Depth information
  • Main alarms– Status of mandatory alarms
  • Rudder order and response– Includes settings of heading or track controller
  • Engine and thruster order and response-positions of any engine telegraphs or direct engine/propeller/Thruster controls, feedback indications and the control station in use
  • Hull openings status– To include all mandatory status information required to be carried on the bridge
  • Watertight and fire door status— To include all mandatory status information required to be carried on the bridge
  • Accelerations and hull stresses- When a ship is fitted with hull stress and response monitoring equipment
  • Wind speed and direction– Where a ship is fitted with a suitable sensor, wind speed and direction
  • AIS- All AIS data should be recorded
  • Rolling motion– If electronic inclinometer

What is a S-DVR?

A simplified voyage data recorder that fulfils the same requirements of an VDR, but with less inputs. They can be carried by cargo ships of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards instead of a VDR built after July 2002.

For full information see

IMO  RESOLUTION MSC.163(78)- PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR SHIPBORNE SIMPLIFIED VOYAGE DATA RECORDERS (S-VDRs)

What data items need to be recorded by a S-VDR?

  • Date and time– From an external source
  • Ship’s position-From electronic position fixing system
  • Speed– over water and over ground
  • Heading– As ship’s heading source
  • Bridge audio-Covering all bridge workstations. At least 2 channels
  • Communications audio– On separate channel
  • Radar data,- Main displays of of radar installations
  • AIS Data-If it is impossible to obtain radar data3 then AIS target data should be recorded as a source of information regarding other ships. If radar data is recorded,, AIS information may be recorded additionally as a  secondary source of information
  • Other items– Any additional data items required for a VDR should be recorded when the data is available.

Surveys and inspections

For more information see:

What test is the VDR and SDV-R subject to?

The voyage data recorder system, including all sensors, shall be subjected to an annual performance test.  The test shall be conducted by an approved testing or servicing facility

What is the objective of the annual VDR test?

  • To verify the accuracy, duration and recoverability of the recorded data
  • To determine the serviceability of all protective enclosures and devices fitted to aid location

A copy of the certificate of compliance issued by the testing facility, stating the date of compliance and the applicable performance standards, shall be retained on board the ship.


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2 thoughts on “What are the requirements for VDRs?

  1. […] systems and equipment required to meet the requirements of regulations 19 and 20 shall be of a type approved by the Administration and  Systems and equipment installed on or after […]

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