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163(78) Performance standards for shipborne simplified voyage data recorders (S-VDRs)
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Annex Recommendation on performance standards for shipborne simplified voyage data recorders (S-VDRs)

1 Purpose


1.1 The purpose of a simplified voyage data recorder (S-VDR) is to maintain a store, in a secure and retrievable form, of information concerning the position, movement, physical status, command and control of a vessel over the period leading up to and following an incident having an impact thereon. Information contained in a S-VDR should be made available to both the Administration and the shipowner. This information is for use during any subsequent investigation to identify the cause(s) of the incident.

2 Application


2.1 A S-VDR with capabilities not inferior to those defined in these performance standards is required to be fitted to ships of classes defined in SOLAS chapter V, as amended.

3 References


3.1 SOLAS:

- 1995 SOLAS Conference, resolution 12.

3.2 IMO resolutions:

- A.662(16) Performance Standards for Float-free Release and Activation Arrangements for Emergency Radio Equipment

- A.694(17) General Requirements for Shipborne Radio Equipment Forming Part of the GMDSS and for Electronic Navigational Aids

- A.802(19) Performance Standards for Survival Craft Radar Transponders for use in Search and Rescue Operations

- A.810(19) Performance Standards for Float-free Satellite Emergency Position- Indicating Radio Beacons Operating on 406 MHz

- A.812(19) Performance standards for float-free satellite emergency position indicating radio beacons operating through the geostationary Inmarsat satellite system on 1.6 GHz

- A.824(19) Performance Standards for Devices to Indicate Speed and Distance

- A.830(19) Code on Alarms and Indicators, 1995

- A.861(20) Performance Standards for Shipborne Voyage Data Recorders (VDRs)

- MSC.64(67), Performance Standard for Heading Control Systems annex 3

- MSC.64(67), Performance Standards for Navigational Radar Equipment, annex 4 as amended.

4 Definitions


4.1 Simplified Voyage data recorder (S-VDR) means a complete system, including any items required to interface with the sources of input data, for processing and encoding the data, the final recording medium, the power supply and dedicated reserve power source.

4.2 Sensor means any unit external to the S-VDR, to which the S-VDR is connected and from which it obtains data to be recorded.

4.3 Final recording medium means the item of hardware on which the data is recorded such that access to it would enable the data to be recovered and played back by use of suitable equipment.

4.4 Playback equipment means the equipment, compatible with the recording medium and the format used during recording, employed for recovering the data. It includes also the display or presentation hardware and software that is appropriate to the original data source equipment.1

4.5 Dedicated reserve power source means a secondary battery, with suitable automatic charging arrangements, dedicated solely to the S-VDR, of sufficient capacity to operate it as required by 5.3.2.


1 Playback equipment is not normally installed on a ship and is not regarded as part of a S-VDR for the purposes of these performance standards.

5 Operational requirements

5.1 General


5.1.1 The S-VDR should continuously maintain sequential records of preselected data items relating to the status and output of the ship's equipment, and command and control of the ship, referred to in 5.4.

5.1.2 To permit subsequent analysis of factors surrounding an incident, the method of recording should ensure that the various data items can be co-related in date and time during playback on suitable equipment.

5.1.3 Final recording medium

5.1.3.1 The final recording medium should be installed in a protective capsule of either a fixed or float-free type, which should meet all of the following requirements:

.1 be capable of being accessed following an incident but secure against tampering;

.2 maintain the recorded data for a period of at least 2 years following termination of recording;

.3 be of a highly visible colour and marked with retro-reflective materials; and

.4 be fitted with an appropriate device to aid location.

5.1.3.2 The fixed type protective capsule should comply with the requirements set out in resolution A.861(20) with the exception of the resulting requirements for withstanding penetration.

5.1.3.3 The float-free type protective capsule should:

.1 be fitted with means to facilitate grappling and recovery;

.2 be so constructed as to comply with the requirements specified in resolutions A.810(19) or A.812(19) and to minimize risk of damage during recovery operations; and

.3 the device should be capable of transmitting an initial locating signal and further locating homing signal for at least 48 hours over a period of not less than 7 days/168 hours.

5.1.4 The design and construction, which should be in accordance with the requirements of resolution A.694(17) and international standards acceptable to the Organization2, should take special account of the requirements for data security and continuity of operation as detailed in 5.2 and 5.3.


2Refer to publication IEC 60945 - Maritime navigation and radiocommunication equipment and systems - General requirements, methods of testing and required test results.

5.2 Data selection and security


5.2.1 The minimum selections of data items to be recorded by the S-VDR are specified in 5.4. Optionally, additional items may be recorded provided that the requirements for the recording and storage of the specified selections are not compromised.

5.2.2 The equipment should be so designed that, as far as is practical, it is not possible to tamper with the selection of data being input to the equipment, the data itself nor that which has already been recorded. Any attempt to interfere with the integrity of the data or the recording should be recorded.

5.2.3 The recording method should be such that each item of the recorded data is checked for integrity and an alarm given if a non-correctable error is detected.

5.3 Continuity of operation


5.3.1 To ensure that the S-VDR continues to record events during an incident, it should be capable of operating from the ship's emergency source of electrical power.

5.3.2 If the ship's emergency source of electrical power supply fails, the S-VDR should continue to record Bridge Audio (see 5.4.5) from a dedicated reserve source of power for a period of 2 h. At the end of this 2 h period all recording should cease automatically.

5.3.3 Recording should be continuous unless interrupted briefly in accordance with 6 or terminated in accordance with 5.3.2. The time for which all stored data items are retained should be at least 12 h. Data items which are older than this may be overwritten with new data.

5.4 Data items to be recorded


Date and time

5.4.1 Date and time, referenced to UTC, should be obtained from a source external to the ship or from an internal clock. The recording should indicate which source is in use. The recording method should be such that the timing of all other recorded data items can be derived on playback with a resolution sufficient to reconstruct the history of the incident in detail.

Ship's position

5.4.2 Latitude and longitude, and the datum used, should be derived from an electronic position-fixing system (EPFS). The recording should ensure that the identity and status of the EPFS can always be determined on playback.

Speed

5.4.3 Speed through the water or speed over the ground, including an indication of which it is, derived from the ship's speed and distance measuring equipment.

Heading

5.4.4 As indicated by the ship's compass.

Bridge Audio

5.4.5 One or more microphones positioned on the bridge should be placed so that conversation at or near the conning stations, radar displays, chart tables, etc., are adequately recorded. As far as practicable, the positioning of microphones should also capture intercom, public address systems and audible alarms on the bridge.

Communications Audio

5.4.6 VHF communications relating to ship operations should be recorded.

Radar data, post-display selection

5.4.7 This should include electronic signal information from within one of the ship's radar installations which records all the information which was actually being presented on the master display of that radar at the time of recording. This should include any range rings or markers, bearing markers, electronic plotting symbols, radar maps, whatever parts of the SENC or other electronic chart or map that were selected, the voyage plan, navigational data, navigational alarms and the radar status data that were visible on the display. The recording method should be such that, on playback, it is possible to present a faithful replica of the entire radar display that was on view at the time of recording, albeit within the limitations of any bandwidth compression techniques that are essential to the working of the S-VDR.

AIS Data

5.4.8 If it is impossible to obtain radar data3 then AIS target data should be recorded as a source of information regarding other ships. If radar data is recorded, AIS information may be recorded additionally as a beneficial secondary source of information on both other and own ship.

Other items

5.4.9 Any additional data items listed by IMO with the requirements set out in resolution A.861(20) should be recorded when the data is available in accordance with the international digital interface standards4 using approved sentence formatters.


3 Where commercial off the shelf (COTS) interfaces are not available.

4 Refer to publication IEC 61162

6 Operation


6.1 The unit should be entirely automatic in normal operation. Means should be provided whereby recorded data may be saved by an appropriate method following an incident, with minimal interruption to the recording process.

7 Interfacing


7.1 Interfacing to the various sensors required should be in accordance with the relevant international interface standards, where possible. Any connection to any item of the ship's equipment should be such that the operation of that equipment suffers no deterioration, even if the S-VDR system develops faults.

8 Download and playback equipement for investigation authorities

8 - Download and playback equipement for investigation authorities

8.1 Data Output Interface

8.1 - Data output interface

The S-VDR should provide an interface for downloading the stored data and playback the information to an external computer. The interface should be compatible with an internationally recognized format, such as Ethernet, USB, FireWire, or equivalent.

8.2 Software For Data Downloading And Playback

8.2 Software for data downloading and playback

8.2.1 A copy of the software programme providing the capability to download the stored data and playback the information onto a connected external laptop computer and for the playback of the data should be provided for each S-VDR installation.

8.2.2 The software should be compatible with an operating system available with commercial-off-the-shelf laptop computers and provided on a portable storage device such as a CD-ROM, DVD, USB-memory stick, etc.

8.2.3 Instructions for executing the software and for connecting the external laptop computer to the S-VDR should be provided.

8.2.4 The portable storage device containing the software, the instructions and any special (not commercial-off-the-shelf) parts necessary for the physical connection of the external laptop computer, should be stored within the main unit of the S-VDR.

8.2.5 Where non-standard or proprietary formats are used for storing the data in the S-VDR, the software for converting the stored data into open industry standard formats should be provided on the portable storage device or resident in the S-VDR.

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