Recognizably, the impact of the upgraded marine recorder known as Voyage Data Recorders become more persuasive in the shipping industry.
Although not all ships but all new cargo and passenger vessels are highly required to establish an approved VDR. In essence, a VDR is capable of recording and storing all detailed information relevant to the ship’s activity. Such is placed in a protected and restorable form.
Basically, that concerns with the speed, time, location, position, movement, command, and control of the vessel, especially for the time leading up to and following a marine accident. All the recorded data, statistics, or information are automatically kept in a protected memory in a hardened float-free capsule.
Currently, Voyage Data Recorders do play a compelling role in developing and improving safety life at sea. The data provided by this vital marine recorder is indeed very useful for many intentions relating to the marine field.
Primarily, VDR data is administered for investigators to identify causes of a collision, grounding, fire, sinking and other deep-sea incidents. It employs undeniably accurate evidence for damage claims originating from such marine casualties.
The after-action study of the VDR data, therefore, enables vessel owners and managers to upgrade crew training and enhance safety practices and measures.
During the international Voyage Data Recorder standardization process, concerns have been arising. These factors have been evaluated during the deliberation.
- The technical problems in respect to retrofitting of Voyage Data Recorders
- Practicability of installing a VDR
- Efficiency of the existing standards of performance
- Encounters upon the use of such marine recorder on the vessels already equipped with them
- Data or information that could not have been collected without a voyage data recorder
- Significant financial implications involving analysis of cost-benefit
Main Features of VDRs
Substantially, the main scope of VDRs is to contribute incontrovertibly historical navigational information in the investigation of oceanic incidents. However, it is remarkably useful as well for system performance evaluation or monitoring. And even so, to more marine-related purposes.
- Monitor and evaluation of Mariners or Seamen’s conduct and decision-making
- Onboard engine and equipment performance appraisal
- Taking up procedures for bettering safety operation
- Gathering plan of actions for enhancing overall ship affairs
- Compiling measures for preventing future similar marine accidents
- VDR data can be a tool for Bridge team training or further education of crew members
Issues on the ownership of VDR data
Such is an important issue that has not been resolved for quite long time. But, presently the International Maritime Organization had already deliberated as to who is responsible for and has the access to it.
- Recovering the Voyage Data Recorder capsule after the encountered mishap
- As to owning the VDR data; if it’s the shipping company or to be withheld to investigative bodies
- If insurance companies have the right also to access
- The cost or expense of retrieving the capsule after the sinking of the vessel
Nevertheless, currently, the guidelines on VDR ownership and recovery have already been released by the International Maritime Organization.
In all circumstances and at all times, the VDR and its data must be owned by the shipowner. But, in the case of an incident, other guidelines should apply. The shipowner should extend and keep all decoding information needed to retrieve the captured data by the VDR.