Six seafarers might still be alive but for the sake of a $100 optional extra for an EPIRB and correct registration. In the wake of investigations into the sinking of the scalloper Lady Mary with six lives lost the US National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB, has called for EPIRBS to be fixed with a GPS receiver, currently an optional extra costing about $100.
Lady Mary sank on 23 March, 2009, at about 0510. A geostationary SARSAT satellite picked up the vessel’s EPIRB distress signal at 0540. Because the EPIRB was not equipped with a GPS receiver there was no accurate position information. A LEO satellite, which could have detected the vessel’s position passed overhead shortly before Lady May sank and it was not until 0707 that the LEO satellite returned and 0715 when NOAA could determine the precise position of the EPIRB.