Uni-Tankers Begins VDR Upgrade Program

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

July 9, 2020

M/T Endelo Swan (Photo: Uni-Tankers)

M/T Endelo Swan (Photo: Uni-Tankers)

Danish shipping company Uni-Tankers is upgrade aging and obsolete voyage data recorders (VDR) on more than 10 of its vessels. Some of the VDRs are 10 or more years old and are nearing the end of their service life.

Uni-Tankers has chosen Danelec Marine to implement an upgrade program ensuring that it ships are equipped with the latest VDR technology, which will also help boost efficiency and the proactive use of ships’ data.

A required piece of equipment on large vessels, VDRs are used to collect and store data from various onboard sensors, similar to an airplane’s “black box”.

“The VDR is a mission-critical piece of equipment. If a VDR fails and is unable to continue recording data, the port state control authorities may decide that the vessel is not allowed to move on, thereby putting the vessel out of operation, said Keld Nielsen, Marine Manager at Uni-Tankers. “With the new VDRs from Danelec Marine, we not only expect significant cost savings, but even more critical we expect to prevent failures as well as sudden and costly operational breakdowns.”

Danelec Marine said the entire upgrade process is expected to be completed by May 2021, with retrofits conducted in dry dock or when vessels are in operation and will take place both in Europe and the U.S. The first VDR retrofit has been completed on the vessel M/T Endelo Swan at the Orskov Yard in Frederikshavn, Denmark.

Retrofitting a VDR would normally require many hours of labor for installation and configuration, but Danelec Marine said its conversion kits dramatically reduced the time, cost and downtime for the installation. The conversion kits have been developed to facilitate replacement of more than 40 different VDR models, and include specific sets of hardware and data interfaces for all major existing and legacy brands. Michael Sejrup Villadsen, Nautical Superintendent at Uni-Tankers, said the tailor-made retrofit kit enabled a smooth and efficient conversion to the new VDR with minimum of downtime.

Also part of the upgrade agreement, Uni-Tankers is retrofitting a number of vessel remote server (VRS) modules to start proactively using the VDR data for the remote management of its connected vessels using DanelecConnect. The smooth transfer of VDR data to onshore operations via remote access will enable monitoring and performance optimization.

“The shipping industry has been hesitant to adopt IoT solutions partly because of the complexity of both the setup and implementation as well as the high cost of the solutions provided on the market,” said Hans Ottosen, CEO of Danelec Marine. “With DanelecConnect, the implementation is smooth, cost-efficient, easy and fast. The remote use of data from the vessels is facilitated by a growing ecosystem of fully integrated third-party application providers delivering a wide range of services such as performance optimization, routing and bridge operational quality assurance.”

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