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Danelec Marine will upgrade Uni-Tankers’ VDR fleet, facilitating remote management

The Danish tanker shipping company Uni-Tankers operates a fleet of modern, larger oil and chemical tankers ranging from 3,000 to 18,000 DWT.

High maintenance, cost savings, and increased efficiency

Some of the existing VDRs of the Uni-Tankers fleet 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. In close dialogue with Uni-Tankers, Danelec Marine carried out a thorough analysis of all VDRs and identified 10+ units that were found to be obsolete and/or too expensive to maintain.

Uni-Tankers and Danelec Marine agreed on an upgrade program ensuring that the Uni-Tankers fleet will be equipped with the latest Danelec Marine state-of-the-art VDR technology available on the market. The new technology will help boost efficiency and the proactive use of data.

Product quality and reliability as well as simplicity in the installation and setup are characteristics of Danelec Marine and were decisive factors in Uni-Tankers’ decision to assign Danelec Marine with the comprehensive and challenging task.

"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." – Keld Nielsen, Marine Manager, Uni-Tankers.

VDR Conversion Kits enables easy replacement

Normally, removing an obsolete VDR and replacing it with a new unit would involve many hours of labour for the installing technician, as the existing components are often not compatible with the new technology. To solve this problem, Danelec Marine has developed a range of conversion kits to replace more than 40 different VDR models and simplified VDRs (S-VDRs), including all major existing and legacy brands. The conversion kits provide specific sets of hardware, software, and data interfaces tailored to each VDR model, saving time and money and minimizing downtime for the vessel.

Danelec Marine recently completed the installation of the first new VDR retrofit of the Uni-Tankers fleet on the vessel M/T Endelo Swan. The retrofit was done at the Orskov Yard in Frederikshavn, Denmark.

"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." – Michael Sejrup Villadsen, Nautical Superintendent, Uni-Tankers.

Danelec Marine has a track record of more than 6,000 VDR installations. With a global service and support network of more than 600 certified service technicians in 50 locations worldwide, Danelec Marine has earned the status as preferred VDR provider with second-to-none, prompt, and highly competent service and support to the global shipping industry.

DanelecConnect, the intelligent Remote Management solution

To enable remote access to VDR data, Danelec Marine developed ‘DanelecConnect’, an intelligent solution based on the installation of a VRS (Vessel Remote Server) as an add-on to the VDRs.

As part of their upgrade agreement, Uni-Tankers plans to retrofit a number of VRS modules along with the VDRs and look forward to making proactive use of VDR data for remote management of their connected vessels. According to Uni-Tankers, VDRs were previously mainly seen as ‘black boxes’ with mandatory input and data collection used exclusively in connection with incidents on vessels.

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 optimization. With the development of DanelecConnect and its ability to capture additional input, this has now become easy.

Digitization of data is also a top priority for the tanker shipping company, and Uni-Tankers plans to gradually enhance the use of the VDR with the VRS. This is the most obvious – and ALREADY EXISTING – logical onboard data hub and integrates the retrieval of real-time data from the vessels’ systems and sensors with onshore offices. In addition, it also offers the possibility of retrieving input from further shipboard equipment such as ECDIS.

So far, the shipping industry, in general, has been hesitant to adopt IoT solutions partly because of the complexity of both the setup and the implementation of many of the solutions available on the market. With the DanelecConnect solution, the implementation is smooth, and the remote use of fleet data is facilitated providing an efficient and improved overview of the performance of Uni-Tankers’ vessels all over the world.

The complete VDR fleet upgrade of the 10+ Uni-Tankers vessels is expected to be completed by May 2021. Retrofits will be conducted in dry dock or when vessels are in operation and will take place both in Europe and in the USA. Upgrades, on average, take 3-5 days, including travel time.


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