MH370 Operational Search Update—
14 January 2015
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 is en route to the search area from Fremantle. The vessel is anticipated to arrive around 15 January.
- Fugro Discovery is en route to the search area from Fremantle. The vessel is anticipated to arrive around 15 January.
- GO Phoenix recommenced underwater search operations on 12 January.
- New search vessel, Fugro Supporter, is expected to arrive in the search area and commence search activities in late January.
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.
More than 14,000 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 completed bathymetric survey work on 17 December 2014 and returned to Fremantle for mobilisation to conduct underwater search operations. The vessel departed for the search area on 11 January and is expected to arrive around 15 January to commence underwater search operations.
Fugro Discovery departed Fremantle on 10 January, and is anticipated to arrive in the search area around 15 January to recommence underwater search operations.
GO Phoenix departed Fremantle on 5 January and returned to the search area, recommencing underwater search operations on 12 January.
Fugro Supporter is expected to arrive in the search area and commence search activities in late January. Fugro Supporter has been equipped with a Kongsberg HUGIN 4500 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). The AUV will be used to scan those portions of the search area that cannot be searched effectively by the equipment on the other search vessels. It is not connected to the ship by cable, but is rather deployed with a pre-programmed area of the sea floor to investigate. After each underwater mission, the AUV will ascend automatically and return to the Fugro Supporter in order for the gathered data to be downloaded and the AUV's batteries to be changed out with a spare charged set.
Sea states in the search area are anticipated to range from 2 to 4 over the next four days. Overall conditions are expected to continue to be generally favourable during the summer months.