MH370 Operational Search Update—
09 September 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 Discovery is still in the search area, however weather conditions forced the vessel to suspend search operations on 4 September. The vessel is expected to depart the search area tomorrow to travel to Fremantle for a scheduled resupply visit.
- Fugro Equator is still in the search area, however weather conditions forced the vessel to suspend deep-tow search operations on 2 September. Some bathymetric surveying is being conducted. The vessel's next resupply visit to port is scheduled for late September.
- An MH370 officials' tripartite meeting was held in Canberra on 3–4 September 2015. Discussions at the meeting focused on planning to ensure the search for the aircraft continues to be conducted as efficiently as possible, taking advantage of expected better weather with the onset of summer. Chinese officials were, on this occasion, unable to attend but arrangements are in place to meet with them in coming weeks.
- On 4 September 2015 French authorities confirmed that the flaperon found on La Réunion was from MH370. The finding of the debris on La Réunion is consistent with the current search area.
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.
Search plans were revised in April to ensure the area is searched as quickly and effectively as possible despite unfavourable weather conditions. Notwithstanding the onset of spring, weather continues to impact on search operations but conditions are expected to improve in the coming months. The safety of the search crews, as always, remains a priority, and the vessels and equipment utilised will vary to reflect operational needs.
More than 60,000 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.
The CSIRO has released a new article on MH370 drift analysis, Trajectories of Global Drifter Program drifters (www.marine.csiro.au/~griffin/MH370/).
The weather has been unfavourable over the past week, but is forecast to improve in the coming days.