+31 (0)881181500 | +31 621502167 (24/7)

The installation of a Complete VDR system in ships is subjected to the standards set by the International Maritime Organization.


However, voyage data recorders are not only considered as a strict compliance.But, a VDR is treated as a far-reaching tool that contributes to the safety and productivity of a ship’s navigation. The regulations of establishing VDR system on vessels are explained in chapter V on Safety of Navigation. Specifically, this is associated with the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea or SOLAS.

In Essence, the VDR is an integral structure for handling, encoding, and capturing data and information enforced by the International Maritime Organization. The data is mainly composed of audio particularly human voices, equipment status and generally, the ship’s activities during the voyage.


Based on the IMO requirements, every VDR system must record the following relevant items:


  • GPS – the date, time, and position of the vessel
  • Speed Log – the speed through water or the speed over groud
  • Gyro Compass – the heading
  • Radar – as presented or AIS statistics in the case when there is no off-the-shelf converter available for the Radar video
  • Bridge Audio – also include bridge wings
  • Very High Frequency radio communications that encompasses the following details:
    • All IMO mandatory alarms
    • Echo sounder; depth under keel
    • Hull doors status as determined on the bridge
    • Watertight and fire door status as specified on the bridge
    • Accelerations and hull stresses
    • Order and feedback response of Rudder
    • Order and feedback response of the Engine/Propeller
    • Amount of thrust in % or RPM, status, and direction of Thrusters
    • Direction and wind speed of Anemometer and Weather Vane

 An Overview of a VDR System

Data Acquisition Unit

Substantially, the DAU is the primary recording device. It is usually situated in the location of the bridge. Generally, the Data Acquisition Unit is capable of the recording task, covering all the vital information recommended by the IMO. Plus, the owner-specified information for a rolling duration of twenty-four hours.

In addition, the Data Acquisition Unit has a hard drive, which can be employed for selective recovering of the data. Such memory can also be abolished just preceding to abandonment. Furthermore, the DAU device is not flood or fire proof

Protected Data Capsule 

Essentially, the PDC or Protected Data Capsule is the one that’s capable of guarding the data from any marine casualty like fire, collision, sinking, or explosion. The PDC is located commonly on the upper deck. In the event of the ship sinking, it can be retrieved by remotely operated vehicles or divers.

Moreover, it is only the suggested IMO data is fed to it from the Data Acquisition Unit that’s being maintained on a rolling twelve-hour basis.

Power Supply Unit 

This tool is chiefly linked or associated with the vessel’s emergency source of electrical power. The Power Supply Unit is a 2-hour battery back-up and is located on the bridge.

Bridge Alarm Unit

The Bridge Alarm Unit is virtually the remote interface that regulates the Voyage Data Recorder. The BAU also recognizes the system warnings and alarms.

Interface Box

Literally, the interface box is the largest part of the VDR system in a physical sense. It incorporates the cable feeds from the data or information being recorded. As well as, the interface and the feeds to the MRU.


A complete VDR System must be observed in the following types of vessels or ships:

  • Passenger vessels or ships constructed on or after 1st of July 2002;
  • Ro-ro passenger vessels or ships built before 1st of July 2002. And, not later than the first survey on or after 1st of July 2002;
  • Passenger vessels or ships besides the Ro-ro passenger vessels established before 1st of July 2002. And, not later than 1st of January 2004; and,
  • Watercraft other than passenger vessels or ships, of 3000 GT and upwards, constructed on or after 1st of July 2002.