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Joint Agency Coordination Centre

MH370 Operational Search Update—
27 January 2016

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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

  • Fugro Discovery is en route to the port of Fremantle after an incident on 24 January in which the deep tow sonar vehicle (towfish) was separated from the vessel. The vessel is expected to arrive in port around 29 January.
  • Fugro Equator continues to conduct search operations. The vessel will be departing the search area on 4 February, returning to Fremantle for a scheduled resupply visit on 9 February 2016.
  • Havila Harmony arrived at Henderson on 21 January for a scheduled port visit and maintenance.

Underwater search operations


On 24 January while conducting search operations in the southern Indian Ocean, the deep tow sonar vehicle being used by Fugro Discovery to search the ocean floor struck an undersea volcano and was separated from the vessel.

Fugro Discovery is now returning to port to mobilise a replacement cable and the spare towfish is being readied. The vessel is expected to arrive in port around 29 January.

[Click to view larger image]

[Click to view larger image]

Havila Harmony

During the last week of AUV operations before returning to port for resupply, the crew on board Havila Harmony had detected irregularities with the HiPaP communications system. The system was recalibrated and damage to the HiPaP pole was suspected to be the cause. The HiPaP pole is a piece of underwater communications equipment that is lowered through the ship's hull and carries an acoustic transceiver used to position and control the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).

Upon arrival at Henderson, divers confirmed that the pole was bent and fouled with fishing net. The vessel was subsequently dry-docked at the BAE Systems ship lift facility to allow the pole to be replaced.

The vessel is expected to depart Fremantle for the search area on 28 January and recommence search activities around 2 February 2016.

[Click to view larger image]

[Click to view larger image]

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 85,000 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]


The weather is expected to be variable over the coming week but is not expected to negatively impact on search operations.