Ok, I have done some more digging and you are right, the player must have an unequipped modulator available. It is however, only the "active" player that needs it. The issue is that if you are in multiplayer you do not know who is going to be selected as the active player! I think this is probably a bug, but there is a work around. The event in question is a "repeating" event, meaning that it doesn't disapear if you choose to ignore the miners. So, in this case you could ignore the miners when you first encounter them, move away, unequip modulators, and then move back again. It will cost some time / AI power, but at least you dont need everyone going around without their mods equipped.
The EMP and Lock-on requirments are clearly bugs however, good find!