Fastnet Radio AG announced development of GMDSS Inmarsat-E EPIRB Mark 4 designed for worldwide operation between the latitudes of 80 degrees north and 80 degrees south. The system will be available at the end of 1999.
In an emergency situation the Mark4 transmits distress alert signals from vessels and yachts to the appropriate Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre. The distress alert contains the following information: ships identifier; position; time; course; speed; nature of distress. It is a self-activating system. If installed permanently on board and operating in a stand-by mode, an integrated GPS receiver records the exact position of the vessel as well as date and time. Utilizing this data, course and speed is calculated by the system. The identification of the vessel (Inmarsat System Code) is hard coded in the system. In case of an emergency the system can be activated within seconds and the nature of distress can be entered.