'Black Box' Data Could Vindicate or Condemn Italian Security in Maritime Shooting

By Carlton Purvis


This raised suspicion among coast guard officials because pirate attacks are usually reported immediately. It had been more than three hours since the shooting when the Coast Guard contacted the Enrica. The Coast Guard requested that the Enrica proceed to a port in Kochi where two members of its security crew were taken into custody.

Madden says the February 15th incident shows the importance of VDRs on ships. VDRs function like black boxes, recording audio, speed, GPS, radio communications, hull information and other data that can help investigators piece together what happened before and during an incident.

“You will want to be able to prove to authorities and your company that a scaled escalation of force was used. A thorough investigation of the Enrica Lexie incident should include a review of the VDR data to demonstrate the actions taken,” Madden wrote--data that unfortunately, may no longer be available.

A VDR will constantly record data, but will overwrite data after 12 hours if it isn't activated to collect data from a specific incident. "Official sources said that as per norms, the VDR is switched on in the event of a suspected pirate attack or an act like the firing," The Asian Age reports.

Authorities suspect the Italian crew let the recorder overwrite old data in an effort to “intentionally destroy crucial evidence.”

photo of the Indian Ocean by missy & the universe/flickr


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