Voyage Data Recorders

Customary within the aviation industry, voyage data recorders (VDR's)or "black boxes" will become a mandatory feature onboard all new vessels beginning July 1, 2002. The new regulation, which was passed by the IMO at a recent meeting, also stipulates that all existing vessels entering U.S. ports must be equipped with VDR's. The following is just a sample of companies that have joined the rush to implement this new device between now and July I.

L-3 Communications' Aviation Recorders division has entered into an agreement with Kongsberg Maritime Ship Systems (KMSS) as the sole source supplier of Hardened Voyage Recorders (H VR) for its new Maritime Black Box (MBB). The agreement provides L-3 Communications with the opportunity to provide its HVR to KMSS for installations on both new builds and existing vessels.

Under this contract. L-3 will provide its 12-hour, solid state HVR for inclusion into KMSS's MBB system.

The MBB and HVR meet the requirements specified in the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) SOLAS Chapter V, according to the standard set out in the International Electrotechnical Commission's (IEC) specification 61996. for a fully IMO compliant Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) System.

Similar to the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR) used in commercial airlines.

L-3's HVR records voice, radar, radio, and shipboard performance data on a solid state memory housed in a crash-protected capsule. Fitted with an underwater locator beacon, the capsule is designed to withstand the harsh environments of ocean going passenger ships, ferries, and large cargo ships, including those associated with an accident, such as impact, deep sea pressure and fire.

JRC's new Voyage Data Recorder, serving the same function as the "BlackBox" in airplanes worldwide, will offer possible solutions to catastrophes that occur on the water. Designed for all vessels required to comply with the new IMO International Requirements (IMO Res.A.861(20). IEC61996. IEC61162-1 (NMEA0183 Ver 2.30), IEC60945, IEEE802.3, etc.), this new product will supply vital information to authorities and ship owner's in the event of a disaster at sea.

Composed of two units: the Protective Capsule and the Recording Control Unit, the JCY-1000 VDR offers easy installation at an economic price point. The data acquisition unit is housed in the Recording Control Unit, providing data transfer to the capsule via an Ethernet cable. Multiple interfaces are available for data output (Radar RGB port, Mic-audio ports, VHF audio port. NMEAO183 16ports, NSK port (option), ^ a n a - log ports (option), 64 closing-contact ports (option) to the Protective capsule and a removable backup memory disk allows duplication of the data.

Data recorded is stored in minimum 12-hour segments.

recording the following ship's information: data & time, position, speed, heading, bridge communication.

radar data, VHF communication, under keel clearance, bridge main Alarms, Rudder order/response. Engine order/response, Watertight/lire door status, hull openings status, accelerations and hull stresses, wind speed/direction, etc. depending on the interfacing options connected to the data acquisition unit.

In the event of the ship capsize and sinking, the data hold period is over two years when un-powered. Environmental conditions it can withstand are as follows: Fire: 1,000 deg. C for 1 hour. 260 deg. C for 10 hours; Deep-sea pressure; 60Mpa (equivalent 6,000 m) for 24 hours.

The Kelvin Hughes NDR-2002 is designed to exceed the IMO Performance Standard A.861 (20) for Shipborne Voyage Data Recorders (VDR) and IEC 61996, in carriage requirements.

The VDR collects data from the various sensors on board the ship and stores the information digitally, in an externally mounted Crash Survivable Module (CSM). The CSM is a tamperproof unit designed to withstand the extreme shock, impact, pressure and heat, which could be associated with a maritime incident. The CSM may be retrieved from the vessel and the stored data replayed by the authorities for investigative purposes.

Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and Echelon announced jointly the certification of SHI's LonWorks Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) by Det Norse Veritas (DNV). DNV approval is the last hurdle for receiving a Wheel Mark certification — a European maritime equivalent of the CE Mark. DNV is also able to grant CE Mark certification. VDRs are a key entree into the lucrative ship control system market for Samsung Heavy Industries.

IMO established a regulation stipulating that by July 1, 2002, all new ships must be equipped with Voyage Data Recording systems. Additionally, existing ships that use European ports must have VDRs. All passenger ships, including RoRo and ferries, are considered vessels with a priority need for VDRs in light of tragedies that have resulted in loss of life in the passenger ferry industry.

Sperry Marine won multiple type approvals from classification societies and national authorities for the Voyage- Master Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) system. The type approvals certify that the VoyageMaster system meets or exceeds all requirements for shipboard VDR equipment to meet the International Maritime Organization (IMO) carriage requirements, which come into effect July 1, 2002.

The VoyageMaster VDR, similar to an aircraft "black box," records vital information concerning the ship's position, movement, physical status and command and control for the period leading up to and following an incident.

Transas has added two new hardware/ software products to its portfolio, the Voyage Data Recorder, Navi-VDR, and Automatic Identification System, AIMS Mill. The former allows the recording, compressing, storage and replaying of ship's data as required by existing IMO regulations for such equipment, including IEC6196. The Navi- VDR package consists of three modules including a System Interface Unit, a Data Management Unit and a Hardened Storage Unit. An optional Replay facility can be supplied to complement the equipment.

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