The technical and impacted marine computers are increasingly embracing a wide range of nautical applications including the VDRs or voyage data recorders. The indisputable influence of VDRs in vessels has undeniably reached to uncounted shipping companies until now.
The International Maritime Organization interprets VDRs as a complete marine system that’s extremely necessary for vessels exceeding 3,000 tonnes. Basically, it includes any subjects recommended to interface with the origin of input signals, their conversion, and encoding. As well as, the playback device, final recording medium, power supply, and the dedicated reserve source of power.
Specifically, VDRs are like the black boxes for watercraft that captures, records, or documents onboard equipment and voyage data. In the case of any deep-sea incident, tragedy, or mishap, the VDR can cater data for investigation and analysis by the shipowner and investigators.
All statistics or data is kept in a secure and recoverable form. Essentially, it relates to the movement, physical status, position, command, and control of the vessel for the whole period and following an oceanic accident. Consequently, such VDR information is taken advantaged during the subsequent case investigation. The main purpose is to diagnose the causes of the casualty or accident.
Understanding the undisputable influence of VDRs
More impressively, other than its benefit administered during an accident investigation, the data from VDRs can also be utilized for the following areas:
- Preventive maintenance
- Heavy weather damage analysis
- Performance efficiency monitoring
- Accident avoidance
- Training scopes to develop or improve safety
- Measures in reducing running costs
All VDRs or voyage data recorders, regardless of features, styles, and brands are generally crafted to record vital or relevant information concerning the overall activity of the ship. Because of its far-reaching contribution and unquestionable influence, almost all ships globally are currently installed with such remarkable marine recording device.
Imperatively, all VDRs incorporate a voice recording program covering a duration of forty-eight hours. Such recording is retrieved and being utilized for investigating the events and details of any deep-sea accident. Virtually, is a condensed and digitized format.
In most cases, all voyage data recorders or VDRs embody the following functions:
- The Data Collection Unit or DCU. It is fitted on the bridge of the ship and it pulls in data from all the unified sources.
- The Data Recording unit or DRU. It collects or gathers all the data from the sensors of the ship as highly required by the IMO and IEC standards. The DRU parts are incorporated in a protective capsule. which secures the survival and retrieval of the recorded information after an incident.
- The flash memory in the Data Recording Unit saves the information coming from the Data Collection Unit. By utilizing the playback software, the data can be recovered and presented for an investigation.
- The Data Collection Unit integrates the Data Processor Unit. As well as the backup batteries and interface modules. It gathers data from the sensors of the ship. The batteries are the means that supply power to the Data Collection Unit in order to capture bridge audio for two hours. Basically, this happens in the event when the main power of the vessel fails.
- The data or information is processed or pulled in from all the incorporated origin. Then, stored in the storage capsule and carries data for 48 hours preceding it. And, this can continuously refresh as the navigation progresses.
- Furthermore, a record button is provided in the bridge unit. The moment it is pushed, say the time beginning any incident, the recorder will begin capturing a new set of data from that time period.
The significant influence of VDRs in vessels cannot be emphasized enough. While it is always in every Mariner’s best effort or undertaking that oceanic tragedy does not happen at all, it is crucial to understand the gravity of VDRs in such unpredictable unfavorable situation.