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Joint Agency Coordination Centre

MH370 Operational Search Update—
13 April 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 arrived back in the search area on 12 April after a scheduled port visit to Fremantle. The vessel has resumed underwater search operations.
  • Fugro Equator continues to conduct underwater search operations.
  • Dong Hai Jiu 101 departed for the search area on 11 April, carrying Phoenix International's Remora III remotely-operated vehicle (ROV). The ROV will be used in the recovery of the lost SLH-ProSAS-60 tow system.

Search and recovery of the lost towfish

On 21 March, the failure of a tow cable connector resulted in the loss of the SLH-ProSAS-60 towfish and the attached depressor. The two items were connected by 50 metres of synthetic tow rope. The torpedo-shaped depressor weighs up to 800 kilograms and acts to keep the slightly positively-buoyant towfish at the right depth as it is towed through the water.

Phoenix International's Remora III remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) was flown in from the United States of America and mobilised on the Dong Hai Jiu 101 for use in the location and recovery of the lost towfish and depressor. The Remora III has been used in other recovery operations, including Air France Flight 447. It has a maximum operating depth of 6,000 metres and is equipped with a sonar which will be used to detect the towfish and depressor. The ROV is also equipped with tools such as cutters, grabs and manipulators that will be used in the recovery of the missing equipment.

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In addition to the ROV, a launch and recovery system was fitted to Dong Hai Jiu 101 and additional ROV specialists have joined the mission crew. Before departing for the search area, the ROV was rigorously tested to ensure all of its systems functioned effectively.

Once the Dong Hai Jiu 101 arrives in the search area, Remora III will be deployed to identify the exact position of the lost SLH-ProSAS-60 towfish and depressor. Recovery operations will then be undertaken.

[Click map to view larger image]

Underwater search operations

Weather may continue to impact on search operations but generally more favourable conditions are being experienced.

More than 100,000 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.

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.

[Click map to view larger image]


Favourable weather conditions are forecast for the search area in the coming days.