MH370 Operational Search Update—
10 September 2014
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This operational report has been developed to provide regular updates on the progress of the search effort for MH370. Our work will continue to be thorough and methodical, so sometimes weekly progress may seem slow. Please be assured that work is continuing and is aimed at finding MH370 as quickly as possible.
The bathymetric survey provides a map of the ocean floor to ensure a safe and effective underwater search.
As of 4 September 2014. over 100,000 square kilometres of the wide search area have been surveyed (see map below).
[Click map to view larger image]
The priorities for the search will continue to be reviewed and will change over time.
Fugro Equator continues its work under contract to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) to map priority areas for the underwater search. Heavy sea conditions have affected the progress of the survey over the past week.
The Chinese survey vessel Zhu Kezhen continues survey work in the search area. The ship has suspended survey operations since 6 September in order to avoid inclement weather.
The Chinese support vessel Haixun 01 has been stationed at the Port of Fremantle.
A high pressure ridge lying to the north of the search area will dominate until another cold front passes over the area late on Thursday. Sea States between 2 and 4 will prevail until Thursday and will deteriorate from Friday as the next cold front takes effect.
The ATSB is leading the search using two Australian-contracted vessels and a Malaysian-contracted vessel.
On 7 August 2014, the ATSB entered a contract for the search for MH370 with Fugro Survey Pty Ltd (Fugro). Two vessels will be provided, Fugro Discovery and Fugro Equator (which is currently being used to survey the search area).
Malaysia has contracted the vessel GO Phoenix, with equipment and experts provided by Phoenix International (Phoenix), to take part in the search.
Mobilisation of search assets is already under way. GO Phoenix has completed mobilisation in Singapore and is currently scheduled to begin its assigned search tasks within a fortnight.
Fugro Discovery is en route from the United Kingdom with the search equipment and mission crew to be mobilised on the vessel in Fremantle at the end of September.
Fugro Equator, the vessel currently being used to survey the search area, will be mobilised as the second ATSB contracted search vessel when its bathymetric work is complete by the end of October.
The ATSB, in consultation with the contracted search experts, is completing the initial plan for the underwater search. The comprehensive plan for the underwater search will include the initial priority areas.
From early in the search, analysis has consistently indicated a very high probability of finding the aircraft along a defined arc in the southern Indian Ocean (where the aircraft last communicated with a ground station through a satellite). This is where the aircraft is assessed to have run out of fuel.
Since then, complex, ground-breaking technical analysis of limited communications data and aircraft flight information has been developed and refined. This work has concentrated on determining the point on the seventh arc that the aircraft was most likely to have reached. This will enable a prioritised search effort in areas along the seventh arc.
Recent refinement to the analysis has given greater certainty about when the aircraft turned south into the Indian Ocean and has produced a better understanding of the parameters within which the satellite ground station was operating during the last flight of MH370.
Based on these refinements, the Search Strategy Working Group is finalising its latest assessment of the highest priority areas for the search, which will most likely extend south of the previous ‘orange’ priority area.