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Joint Agency Coordination Centre

MH370 Operational Search Update—
11 March 2015

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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.

Key developments this week

  • GO Phoenix departed the search area on Friday, 6 March for Fremantle to conduct a scheduled resupply visit.
  • Fugro Discovery continued to conduct search operations.
  • Fugro Equator continued to conduct search operations.
  • Fugro Supporter continued to conduct search operations.
  • More than 30,000 square kilometres (around 50 percent) of the priority zone have now been searched.
  • On 8 March, the Malaysian Government released an Interim Statement on the Safety Investigation for MH370. The report can be viewed at http://mh370.gov.my/.

Underwater search

More than 30,000 square kilometres of the seafloor have been searched, which is around 50 percent of the priority search area.

Assuming no other 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]

Collection of data from the underwater search

In the search for MH370, Fugro Discovery, Fugro Equator and GO Phoenix use towfish equipped with side scan sonar, synthetic aperture sonar and multibeam echo sounders. This equipment sends out sound pulses that reflect back through the water from anything they touch. The towfish sends raw data back to the ship where its quality is checked and the data is reviewed for any anomalies. The operators are looking for high-energy responses—instances in which the sound pulses have bounced back from objects that are extremely hard, like the metal of aircraft debris.

A Fugro Discovery crew member processes data received from the Dragon Prince deep tow fish during the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Source: ATSB, photo by ABIS Chris Beerens, RAN.

More information about the collection of sonar data is contained in the following interview with Mr Kristian Lynch, a sonar specialist on board Fugro Discovery.

Ship movements

GO Phoenix departed the search area on 6 March to travel to Fremantle for a scheduled resupply visit.  The vessel arrived in port on 11 March and is anticipated to depart on 13 March.

Fugro Discovery will depart the search area around 24 March to travel to Fremantle for a scheduled resupply visit.  The vessel is expected to arrive in port around 1 April.

Fugro Equator will depart the search area around 2 April to travel to Fremantle for a scheduled resupply visit.  The vessel is expected to arrive in port around 8 April.

Fugro Supporter will depart the search area around 2 April to travel to Fremantle for a scheduled resupply visit.  The vessel is expected to arrive in port around 8 April.

Weather

Weather conditions in the priority search area are expected to be good, with a one to two metre swell until the weekend. On Saturday sea swells are expected to increase to around 3.5 metres in the south, with ongoing poor weather expected from ex-Tropical Cyclone Haliba which may impact the search area.

Overall conditions are expected to continue to be generally favourable during the warmer months.