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Monday, January 22, 2018

REPORT ON PROPOSALS TO REQUIRE THE RETRO-FITTING OF VESSEL DATA RECORDERS (VDR)

In Weekly NEWS No. 13/2001, we reported on INTERTANKO’s meeting with one of the lead rapporteurs on ‘Erika I’ (MEP Mark Watts) concerning issues related to the proposals to require the retro-fitting of Vessel Data Recorders (VDR).

Please click here for an updated status report

The report includes:

  • Vessel Data Recorders (VDR)/Transponders update
  • IMO Implementation Dates Tankers
  •  E.U. Implementation Dates Tankers
  • What data does Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) supply ?
  • What data does Voyage Data Recorders (VDR) supply?
  • What is the difference in Data supply  ?

INTERTANKO fully supports the use of VDRs on newbuildings, including tankers.  However there are reservations when it comes to the effectiveness of retro-fitting these devices in existing tankers due to interfacing difficulties that may be experienced with the existing bridge equipment (such as echo sounders, engine data loggers, rudder indicators, hull opening information etc). If the existing equipment does not “interface” with a retro-fitted VDR then this will necessitate the replacement of that equipment, thus further increasing total costs and decreasing the cost effectiveness of the VDR.

INTERTANKO fully supports the fitting of transponders (AIS) to all vessels and INTERTANKO’s position is that AIS carries the majority the information needed by a port state to undertake any accident investigation and/or corrective action that may be required in the event of an accident. It can be seen that the fitting of VDRs to existing tankers is largely duplication, and one has to bear in mind that the additional data supplied by a VDR would not assist the prevention of accidents.

Moreover, the AIS already has to have the facility to exchange this information with a shore based facility, therefore if the Coastal state were to fit a recording device to its own shore based AIS there would be a permanent record of all ships AIS data, transiting their waters. As the data recording was already ashore this would also negate the need for recovery of any black box from a vessel in the event of its loss.

IMO has clearly identified that VDR efficiency could vary from one type of vessel to another, based on the VDR's own qualities and the interfacing of existing equipment with a VDR.

When studying the need to fit a VDR to an existing tanker there is a real need to also consider vessels that may be withdrawn from service in only a few more years, and to provide for some form allowance for a form of exemption since the retro-fitting of a VDR on such a tanker would be even less of an advantage.

For further information, please contact howard.snaith@intertanko.com