Voyage Data Recorders (VDR)

Voyage Data Recorders or VDR are designed for all vessels required to comply with the IMO's International Convention SOLAS Requirements (IMO Res.A.861(20)) in order to collect data from various sensors on board the vessel. It then digitizes, compresses and stores this information in an externally mounted protective storage unit. The protective storage unit is a tamper-proof unit designed to withstand the extreme shock, impact, pressure and heat, which could be associated with a marine incident (fire, explosion, collision, sinking, etc.).

Although the primary purpose of the VDR is for accident investigation after the fact, there can be other uses of recorded data for preventive maintenance, performance efficiency monitoring, heavy weather damage analysis, accident avoidance and training purposes to improve safety and reduce running costs.

Besides the protective storage unit, the VDR system may consist of a recording control unit and a data acquisition unit, which are connected to various equipment and sensors on board a ship. The new MSC.333(90) regulations also state a minimum of 30 days of recorded data must be held internally.

Shipmatic offer service and supply of VDR technology, including Hensoldt and other major manufacturers.

Key Agencies



Hensoldt Voyage Data Recorders (VDR) and Simplified Voyage Data Recorders (S-VDR) are type approved and exceed the requirements of IMO Performance Standards.

Further information about Hensoldt VDR products can be found below:


The new standards require VDRs to have both a fixed and float free capsule, capable of holding 48 hours of voyage data. A long term storage medium is also required to record 30 days of data. The new VDR is able to record ECDIS as well as a second radar.

The Hensoldt system is compliant with MSC.333(90) and IEC61996-1 Ed 2.0 and collects data from the sensors on board the vessel and stores it on an externally mounted CSM (Crash Survivable Module). The CSM is tamperproof and designed to withstand extreme shock, impact, pressure and heat.

The following vessels are required to carry a VDR and are subject to an annual survey:

  • All Passenger ships and ro-ro passenger ships
  • Ships, other than passenger ships, of 3,000 GT and upwards constructed on or after 1 July 2002


Simplified Voyage Data Recorder (S-VDR), as defined by the requirements of IMO Performance Standard MSC.163(78), is a lower cost simplified version VDR for small ships with only basic ship’s data recorded.

The following vessels are required to carry an S-VDR and are subject to an annual survey:

  • Ships over 3,000 GT constructed before 1 July 2002