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Inmarsat-E EPIRBs
(Since the Inmarsat-E/E+ system has been shut down on 1.12.06 the description is for historical reference only.)
via Inmarsat

The most reliable EPIRB system on the global market is the Inmarsat-E system. Inmarsat satellites are maintained by the Inmarsat Organisation who is also responsible for the worldwide mandatory satellite communication on SOLAS ships. Inmarsat satellites also provide for a high redundancy with a spare satellite “waiting” beside every satellite in “hot-standby” and with at least two dedicated land earth stations (LES) in each satellite footprint. Inmarsat made 667 channels available for the distress system. This allows for future expansion with nearly no frequency limitation. Inmarsat satellites are geostationary satellites and provide for fast alarm forwarding without any unwanted delay. The advantage of geostationary satellites is that there is no waiting for a satellite to pass over in case of an emergency.

navtec global-3 EPIRB with cradle navtec global-3 EPIRBs are equipped with a built-in GPS receiver because, due to the missing satellite movement, no Doppler estimation can be performed. Inmarsat EPIRBs transmit the position in case of an emergency as part of the message. Inmarsat EPIRBs do not need programming because they transmit a unique system code. The identity of the user is assigned by completing a form on purchase of the beacon and sending it to Inmarsat by fax at no extra cost compared to programming a beacon. Inmarsat EPIRBs are also the first EPIRBs to comply to new IMO recommendations that include several features against false alarms. For example there is a two minute period after activation where an audible alarm will be generated by the EPIRB to give the user the last chance to deactivate the beacon. After this two minute period the beacon transmits via the geostationary Inmarsat satellites with no additional delay.

Inmarsat EPIRBs transmit the type of emergency, if the ships sinks and the beacon is released from the float free cradle “sinking” will be transmitted. If the beacon is acti-vated manually then “unspecified distress” will be transmitted as the type of emergency.

RCU Inmarsat EPIRBs may also be extended with a remote control unit (RCU) that allows for manual input of the type of emergency (IMO codes).The RCU is of interest for SOLAS vessels, because only one EPIRB fulfils the SOLAS requirements for a float free EPIRB and activation of the beacon from where the ship is normally been steered.

Today approved and light weight Inmarsat EPIRBs with built-in GPS and 121,5 MHz homing beacon are available in the same price range like COSPAS/SARSAT with built-in GPS.

The navtec global-3 EPIRB is the smallest EPIRB on the world market working with Inmarsat. It is extremly fast (only three minutes), light-weight (1,2 kg) and type approved for all vessels.