MH370 Operational Search Update—
13 January 2016
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 arrived in Fremantle for a scheduled resupply visit on 11 January. The vessel departs on 13 January, and is anticipated to arrive back in the search area around 19 January.
- Fugro Equator continues to conduct search operations. In early February the vessel will return to Fremantle for a scheduled resupply visit.
- Havila Harmony is conducting search operations using the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). The AUV is currently surveying some of the most difficult portions of the search area that cannot be searched effectively using the deep tow sonar. The vessel will be departing the search area around 14 January, returning to Fremantle for a scheduled port visit.
On 19 December 2015, an anomalous sonar contact was identified in the course of the underwater search, with analysis suggesting the object was likely to be man-made, probably a shipwreck. Havila Harmony was tasked with further examination of the contact using the AUV. On 2 January 2016, the AUV captured high-resolution sonar imagery of the contact, confirming that it was indeed the wreck of a ship.
The Shipwreck Galleries of the Western Australian Museum has conducted a preliminary review of some sonar imagery and advised that the vessel is likely to be a steel/iron vessel dating from the turn of the 19th Century.
Click to view a larger image of a shipwreck discovered in December 2015; source: ATSB
Underwater search operations
Weather may continue to impact on search operations but more favourable conditions are currently being experienced.
Consistent with the undertaking given by the Governments of Australia, Malaysia and the People's Republic of China in April last year, 120,000 square kilometres will be thoroughly searched. It is anticipated this will be completed around the middle of the year. 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.
More than 80,000 square kilometres of the seafloor have been searched so far.
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.
[Click map to view larger image]
Gale force winds are expected on Wednesday. Favourable weather is predicted for the rest of the week.