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Uni-Tankers upgrades VDRs with Danelec technology

The Endelo Swan. The Endelo Swan.

Danish shipping company Uni-Tankers has chosen Danelec Marine to upgrade aging and obsolete voyage data recorders (VDRs) on more than ten vessels.

Some of the VDRs are 10 or more years old and are nearing the end of their service life, often requiring an increasing number of costly repairs and maintenance.

The two companies agreed on an upgrade program ensuring that Uni-Tankers’ ships are equipped with the latest Danelec Marine state-of-the-art VDR technology, which will also help boost efficiency and the proactive use of ships’ data.

“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. 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,” explained Keld Nielsen, marine manager at Uni-Tankers.

Danelec Marine recently completed the first VDR retrofit of Uni-Tankers’ fleet on the vessel Endelo Swan at the Orskov Yard in Frederikshavn, Denmark. Retrofitting a VDR would normally require many hours of labour for installation and configuration, but Danelec Marine’s conversion kits dramatically reduced the time, cost and downtime for the installation.

Danelec Marine has developed conversion kits to facilitate replacement of more than 40 different VDR models. The kits include specific sets of hardware and data interfaces for all major existing and legacy brands.

Michael Sejrup Villadsen, nautical superintendent at Uni-Tankers, added: “Due to the tailor-made retrofit kit, the conversion to the new Danelec Marine VDR went smoothly and efficiently with a minimum of downtime. Product reliability and a highly efficient manufacturer service network are key factors for Uni-Tankers, and Danelec Marine is the best in the industry. We look forward to the continued rollout of our retrofit program.”

As part of the upgrade agreement, Uni-Tankers also plans to retrofit a number of Vessel Remote Server (VRS) modules to start proactively using the VDR data for the remote management of their connected vessels using DanelecConnect. In line with Uni-Tankers’ data strategy, the smooth transfer of VDR data to onshore operations via remote access is key to monitoring and performance optimisation.

“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. 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 optimisation, routing and bridge operational quality assurance,” said Hans Ottosen, CEO of Danelec Marine.

The 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 USA.

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