Shipping’s black box gets blockchain upgrade

The voyage data recorder (VDR) – shipping’s black box – could become a blockchain box with news from Singapore of a landmark agreement to take this vital data to a distributed ledger.

BlocBox, a local start up, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Zeaborn Ship Management (Singapore) to collaborate on a blockchain based project.

BlocBox is creating an immutable distributed ledger with blockchain technology which it claims will solve the challenges of retrieval of black box data, transparency, predictions and ownership in both the maritime and aviation industries.

A prototype of the interface has been developed by the team and is in its testing phases. As per the MOU, BlocBox will collect VDR data from a test ship allocated by Zeaborn Ship Management – the consolidated entity of E.R. Schiffahrt and Rickmers Shipmanagement – that can be stored and distributed in a blockchain network. The data will then be converted into BlocBox encryption format. BlocBox’s proprietary protocol will allow shipowners to give permissioned access to various stakeholders in the maritime ecosystem.

Saurish Nandi, BlocBox co-founder, commented: “In 2017 alone there were 2,712 maritime incidents, causing insured losses of over $16.2bn… The only way we can reduce these statistics is to study the reasons behind these incidents and pre-empt action.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Why? Just more gizmos for equipment manufacturers to sell to ship operators.What is the benefit to the majority of operators?

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