MH370 Operational Search Update—
23 December 2014
The Australian Government remains committed to the MH370 search. While search operations will continue uninterrupted over the Christmas period, there will be no MH370 Operational Search Update on Wednesday, 31 December 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
- Fugro Equator ceased bathymetric survey work on 17 December and returned to Fremantle for mobilisation to conduct underwater search operations. It arrived in port on 22 December.
- Fugro Discovery recommenced search activities after they had been suspended owing to a system issue with a component of the search equipment.
- GO Phoenix continues to conduct underwater search operations.
Fugro Equator completed bathymetric survey work in the search area on 17 December. Around 208,000 square kilometres of the search area have been surveyed.
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.
Over 12,000 square kilometres of the seafloor have been searched.
Assuming no significant delays with vessels, equipment or from the weather, the current underwater search area may be largely completed around May 2015.
[Click map to view larger image]
Fugro Equator ceased bathymetric survey work on 17 December and returned to Fremantle for mobilisation to conduct underwater search operations. It arrived in port on 22 December.
Fugro Discovery recommenced search activities after they had been suspended owing to a system issue with a component of the search equipment. It is expected to leave the search area around 1 January 2015 and arrive in Fremantle around 7 January to conduct resupply.
GO Phoenix continues to conduct underwater search operations. It is expected to depart the search area around 28 December and arrive in Fremantle around 2 January 2015 to conduct resupply.
Sea states in the search area are anticipated to range from 1 to 4 over the next four days. Overall conditions are expected to continue to be generally favourable during the summer months.