If airplanes have the so-called Black Box, the ships have marine recorders called Voyage Data Recorders or VDRs. In essence, both technologies are crafted for emergency and other significant purposes.
Typically, crisis, danger, or compulsions are very similar emergency situations in ships that can occur anytime. Although mariners nowadays are applying measures to prevent future casualties, they must anticipate some marine incidents despite their unexpected nature.
The presence of a marine black box, VDR, or a voyage data recording system in every vessel can simply help to tell the tale of what took place during any oceanic mishaps.
In essence, marine accidents commonly lead to engine failure and even damage to the communication system. Therefore, these effects extremely led to sinking, collision, or fire.
How did Voyage Data Recorders become important?
Through the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea requirement, primarily, ships are compelled to settle a complete VDR system. Essentially, a VDR device should be situated in a proper enclosure and be adequate for data storage and recovery whenever demanded.
A voyage data recorder is basically an electronic ship instrument reserved in a handy enclosure. It can either be an externally stationed protective storage device or can be placed in a recoverable fixed equipment or can be a float-free type. Sometimes, it can be combined with the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB).
Facilitated with the sensors of the ship, various data comprising diverse equipment aboard the vessel is connected to the voyage data recorder. Substantially, the marine recorder assembles all these data and keeps them in a secure storage unit, after translating its format and shrinking the actual size through compressing.
In addition, the protective storage device is typically tamperproof. Which means, it is capable to resist or tolerate deep-sea atmospheres of extreme shock, collision, explosion, and sinking.
The memory capacity of voyage data recorders is impressively notable. They are designed to store potentially onboard information of about 48 hours. The preserved data can conveniently be transmitted to a personal computer or laptop and be examined for further study or investigations.
Intrinsically, vessel owners and authorized persons have the right to retrieve and replay the stored ship data for more uses such as monitoring performance, weather conditions, operational efficiency. collision prevention, and for training purposes.
Moreover, the VDR data can be taken advantage for conveying guidance or instructions with the objective of enhancing safety standards. In addition, some may utilize the data for research and study programs.
Specifically, Voyage Data Recorders capture and store data based on the IMO given regulation.
Substantially, VDRs must save every data deemed necessary for an investigation of any cases that hamper the safety of the vessel, crew, or the marine environment.
- The position of the ship, date and time. Usually, the reference is taken from Universal Time co-ordinate or coordinated universal time, usually from Global Positioning System
- Audio recorded over Very High-Frequency radio communications
- Speed on both water and over ground
- Data from radar or Automatic Identification System
- Course of the watercraft from Gyrocompass
- Depth under Keel, which taken from the echo sounder
- All important IMO mandatory alarms
- Bridge audio for common internal communications, which are capable of documenting even in bridge wings
- Fire door status
- Any weather tight and watertight hull opening status
- Engine order and response
- Rudder order and response
- Wind speed and direction
- Propeller and Thruster direction and RPM
- Hull stresses and corresponding load, etc.