VDR Review and Remote Navigation Audits

VDR is a store house of navigation information which is very helpful in Accident analysis. Other than the above-mentioned use, the information can be used in recognizing undesirable navigational events and appropriate corrective action is taken to prevent its recurrence. The OCIMF had published “Recommendations on the proactive use of voyage data recorder information” in Oct 2012 and revised in August 2020 promoting the use of VDR data for Review of Navigation.

colisions and grounding

This practice of analysis has been in use in the Aviation Industry since 1970 by reviewing Flight Data Recorders (FDR) fitted on aircrafts. The Insurance company research of 1996 also stated that the accident rate was significantly lower for “operators” that had analyzed & actioned upon their FDR for longest period of time.
In addition to safety it has significant maintenance & fuel saving cost benefits in the industry. Since Jan- 2005, it was mandatory to analyze such data as part of accident prevention & flight safety program as per norms laid by the ICAO (Int. Civil Aviation Organization).
Following the lead of the Aviation Industry and requirements of VIQ -7, Chapter 4.11 and TMSA Element 5 level 4 there arose a need to download VDR data and review it.

VDR Review

It is a very good tool to verify that company’s SMS for safe navigation is implemented. It is felt that during external or internal audits the entire bridge team is at its heightened state of alert and this does not depict the actual condition of the state of navigation on the bridge. VDR reviews are ideally undertaken after passage of vessel through Confined waters, high traffic density areas, berthing for periods up to 12 hours of analysis.

The scope of VDR Review

MSC Circular

Evaluation of all sensors, collection of data and compliance with MSC Circular 163 (78), IMO Resolution A 861(20)

Safety of Navigation

Safety of Navigation, compliance of BTM, Rules of the Road

Passage plan

Compliance with the passage plan, speed and UKC

Audio- Communication

Audio- Communication with VTIS, pilots and Internal

navigational equipment

Appropriate use of navigational equipment (PI, plotting targets, Radar alarm volume, CPA/TCPA settings, use of Radar, AIS overlay etc.)

Conduct of vessel

Conduct of vessel in restricted waters or other restricted conditions (early detection, action, speed/ helm control etc.)

ECDIS usage

ECDIS usage and safety markings, and settings and alarm management

VIQ 7.0

Compliance with VIQ 7.0, Chapter 4

Besides the above special emphasis is laid on detecting any key safety triggers. Key safety triggers which are employed are:

  • Noncompliance with master’s and Company’s standing instructions
  • Setting of navigation equipment, alarm settings and alarm management
  • Action taken in various situations
  • Crossing of safety contours or inadequate under keel clearance for the speed recorded.
  • Large angles of helm given, excessively high rate of turn for the speeds half ahead or greater
  • Engine movements more than slow astern in sea way or more than half astern in harbor limits
  • Telegraph delay
  • Close- quarters encounter with another vessel.

Let us know if there’s anything we can do to improve your experience or if you have any questions for us.

Remote Navigation Audit

This is undertaken typically when the management is unable to deploy an auditor on board due to the nature of the voyage- Inconvenient ports, long sailings etc.


The scope of Remote Navigation Audit

Remote Navigation Audit is more comprehensive than the VDR review as the entire bridge is recreated in remote location and the entire navigation process is reviewed with reference to the company’s Navigation Manuals.

About the Consultant - Capt. Ajay Varma

  • Sailing experience 27 years (1980- 2007)
  • Master Mariner with more than 10 years in command
  • Internal auditor ISM, ISO 9001, ISPS with Leading Japanese Shipowner (2007-2020)
  • Auditing experience on Energy and container fleet
  • Incident Investigator
  • ISO 14001 Lead Auditor

Remote Navigation audits and VDR reviews conducted since 2014 on various types of vessels:

  • VLCCs, Aframax, LNG, LPG, Chemical, Containers for various companies (Names withheld)
  • Certified Panama Flag Safety Inspector Carrying out 3rd party Navigation audits of all above types of vessels since 2009.

Let us know if there’s anything we can do to improve your experience or if you have any questions for us.