Historical navigational data is an absolute necessity in the investigation of maritime incidents. The implementation of a secure “black box” and comprehensive Voyage Data Recorder is now a carriage requirement on passenger and Ro-Ro vessels engaged in passages within the EU and internationally. One of Italy's largest ferry fleets - Tirrenia Group of Naples, has recently ordered 39 VoyageMaster Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) systems from Sperry Marine. The systems will permit the ships to meet the new IMO and EU carriage requirements mandating installation of an approved VDR system after July 1, 2002.
The Voyage Data Recorder, 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. The data, including voice recordings from bridge microphones and VHF radio, is stored in a hardened memory capsule for recovery and analysis by safety investigators following an incident at sea. Beyond its "black box" function, the VoyageMaster VDR can serve as an important management tool, supplying the ship's master and shoreside offices with critical voyage data for automated reports/logs, voyage performance, trend analysis and crew training.