A BODY representing the UK’s oil and gas industry is expected to meet an Australian firm which claims to have designed a replacement for controversial personal locator beacons for offshore workers.
Marine safety specialists Mobilarm claims its new VHF position indicating radio beacon device is the solution to recent calls for the replacement of personal locator beacons.
Demands for replacement technology come after a temporary ban of personal beacons on helicopters transferring workers to offshore installations was enforced.
The Civil Aviation Authority instructed operators that the devices should be switched off for offshore flights after a helicopter ditched in the North Sea in February which resulted in no loss of life.
It was feared the signal from the device had interfered with equipment on board the aircraft.
The helicopter crash on April 1, which claimed the lives of all 16 on board, however, prompted calls for new beacons to be developed as a matter of urgency.
Commenting on the new device, Mobilarm chief executive Lindsay Lyon said: “It is a new, but fully-developed technology that provides alerting and locating during an incident but works on the marine VHF frequency, therefore does not affect any other emergency beacons or require any new land, platform or vessel based infrastructure.”
Oil & Gas UK yesterday said it was aware of Mobilarm’s technology and would meet the firm next month.
“It’s an interesting technology and we have already been in contact with the company,” a spokeswoman added.