MH370 Operational Search Update—
3 June 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 arrived back in the search area on 29 May and recommenced search operations.
- On 30 May, foul weather forced all three search vessels—GO Phoenix, Fugro Equator and Fugro Discovery—to retrieve their towfish, as the conditions prevented safe search operations. Search operations have not yet recommenced.
- Fugro Equator is using the hiatus to conduct bathymetric survey operations, mapping additional areas of the seafloor which may be incorporated into the search.
As announced in April, the search area has been expanded beyond an original 60,000 square kilometre search area to enable up to 120,000 square kilometres to be searched if required. In the absence of credible new information that leads to the identification of a specific location of the aircraft, Governments have agreed that there will be no further expansion of the search area.
Search operations have been modified and Fugro vessels have undergone winterisation to enable continuous search operations during winter, as well as to ensure that the required area is searched as quickly and effectively as possible. Over coming weeks, search operations will be focused in the south to take advantage of the last of the better weather in that area prior to the expected onset of continuous poor weather during winter. Safety of the search crews, as always, remains a priority and vessels and equipment utilised will vary to reflect operational needs, particularly during winter months.
Upon completion of the current swing, the current contract with Phoenix International will expire and GO Phoenix will cease search operations and transit to Singapore. This will occur near the end of June.
More than 50,000 square kilometres of the seafloor have been searched so far.
[Click map to view larger image]
The Search Strategy Working Group continues to review evidence associated with MH370 which may result in further refinement of, or prioritisation within, the search area.
In the event the aircraft is found and accessible, Australia, Malaysia and the People's Republic of China have agreed to plans for recovery activities including securing all the evidence necessary for the accident investigation.
Conditions in the search area are currently rough, with average wave heights of over six metres. The weather is projected to deteriorate further over the coming days, with expected maximum wave heights reaching up to 12 metres before conditions improve. Search operations will continue through the winter months, but pauses are anticipated.