VOQA - Voyage Operations Quality Assurance

Identifies potential problems before the next incident can take place...

Do you want to proactively manage the safety risks and improve the efficiency of your ship operations?

– if so, then you will be interested in VOQA

To  proactively manage your safety margins, an approach is required which can identify potential problems before the next incident can take place …

How does VOQA enable Proactive Safety Management?

Avenca’s VOQA (Voyage Operations Quality Assurance) software is designed to automatically spot events and trends in the operation of your ship which can lead to reduced safety margins or increased operating costs. VOQA provides a highly cost effective way to monitor operational performance, and identify any pre-emptive actions required to ensure that safety margins are maintained or enhanced.

The events monitored by VOQA can relate to activity anywhere on the ship, and are not just limited to actions taken on the bridge.

One of the main sources of data for VOQA is normally the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR). This SOLAS-compliant device ensures a high standard of qualification, certification and performance, and it provides a comprehensive record of the activity of various ship systems. However, all too often VDRs have been found not to have been fully operational when an incident has occurred. VOQA analysis can also confirm that your VDR is operating correctly every day, so that you can be assured of complying with the mandatory carraige requirements, and also ensuring that data is available if the ship ever was involved in an incident

To ensure the widest range of monitoring capability, VOQA also accepts data from other sources. Avenca’s VOQA software will quickly process large amounts of data, for multiple vessels, and provide simple-to-interpret interactive reports which are far beyond the capabilities of conventional VDR replay software.

VOQA will automatically pinpoint key events in your data, and so ensure that you can take whatever actions are necessary to reduce their future occurrence. Emerging problems can be detected, and the effectiveness of any previous actions can be reviewed (and further actions taken if required) – as shown in the diagram below. This on-going refinement process ensures a continual enhancement of the safety and efficiency of the underlying operations which are being monitored.

Allowing you to move from reactive to pro-active safety management.

OCIMF (the  Oil Companies International Marine Forum) have produced a very interesting information paper on “Recommendations on the Proactive Use of Voyage Data Recorder Information“, to which we contributed some VOQA results. You can find the OCIMF Information Paper here.

Overview of the VOQA Process

How Avenca pioneered proactive marine safety management

With our background and experience, Avenca were very familiar with the approach to the routine analysis of Flight Data Recorder data (termed FOQA) in aviation, which has now achieved widespread adoption worldwide.

However in assessing whether a similar approach could be developed for ships, we could also see that there were major differences (both technical and cultural!) between aviation and shipping – and that there were some major questions to which answers were required, to ensure that real benefits would be achieved.

Our initial research into the feasibility of VOQA, took a major leap forward when we won a UK Department of Trade and Industry SMART award (Small Firms Merit Award for Research and Technology) in 2002.  The resultant project conclusively demonstrated that our concept of automated VOQA analysis was feasible, and produced significant benefits.

In parallel, Avenca continued to develop our range of products and services for the more conventional post-incident analysis of VDR, and other, digital data which are now widely used by shipping companies, insurers, national investigators and authorities. Working closely with these customers has also highlighted a further range of typical issues for inclusion in VOQA monitoring.

A key stage in the development of VOQA was our participation between 2007 and 2009 in the EU Framework 6 EMDM (European Marine Data Management) project. This enabled us to test and further refine performance and capabilities using data from cruise and tanker fleets, and provided the basis for a significant enhancement of VOQA.

Avenca created VOQA as the  world’s first solution for comprehensive maritime operations Quality Assurance.  As pioneers in this field, we intend to stay at the cutting edge ,and continue to enhance our VOQA software to meet new and emerging requirements.

Using VOQA means you can now move from responding reactively to incidents, to realising the significant benefits which can be achieved through proactive marine safety management.

For more information, or to see the system in operation , and discover how it can protect your profits and safety records, then please get in touch.