MH370 Operational Search Update—
12 November 2014
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.
Key developments this week
- GO Phoenix suspended search operations to rectify an issue with the tow cable. There was a subsequent delay to safely relaunching the towfish due to poor weather. After a 48-hour delay, the vessel recommenced operations.
- Fugro Equator's mobilisation has been delayed due to some issues with the deep tow winch and cable.
Over 4,800 square kilometres of the seafloor have been searched so far.
[Click map to view larger image]
In addition to locating the aircraft, the underwater search aims to map the MH370 debris field in order to identify and prioritise the recovery of specific aircraft components, including flight recorders, which will assist with the Malaysian investigation. The ATSB has utilised the data from the bathymetric survey work to prepare the initial plan for the underwater search, to be followed and referred to by all parties involved. The plan includes search timings, methods, procedures, safety precautions and the initial search areas for the various vessels.
GO Phoenix continues to conduct underwater search operations in the assigned search area. A minor operational issue with the towfish led to a suspension of search operations on 8 November. The problem was remedied but severe weather prevented the safe relaunch of the towfish until 10 November.
Fugro Discovery continued search operations in the assigned search area.
Fugro Equator sailed to the deep tow calibration site to trial the underwater positioning system on 5 November. After successful trials, the vessel returned to Fremantle to continue mobilisation as the third underwater search vessel. This process involves reconfiguring the vessel to operate a deep tow vehicle identical to that currently in use by Fugro Discovery. The vessel's mobilisation and departure has been delayed by issues with the installation of the deep tow cable and winch.
The weather has improved with anticipated sea states of 1 to 4 over coming days. Conditions are expected to continue to improve over the summer months.