MH370 Operational Search Update—
22 June 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
- A prolonged period of extreme winter weather conditions has brought rough seas and strong winds to the search area in recent weeks, severely impacting search operations.
- Fugro Discovery is conducting underwater search operations, as weather and sea conditions permit. The vessel sustained some damage to a shaft bearing and the tow cable, causing delays in search operations as repairs are being made.
- Fugro Equator arrived at the search area on 21 June, after conducting resupply in Fremantle. The vessel is tasked to conduct underwater search operations, as the weather and sea conditions allow.
- Dong Hai Jiu 101 is currently in transit to Fremantle for scheduled resupply.
On 9 June 2016, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) was advised of possible aircraft debris located on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. The ATSB recovered the part, and examined it, in conjunction with Malaysian authorities and the aircraft manufacturer, Boeing. Information received from the manufacturer indicates that the item is not consistent with the manufacturing specifications of a Boeing commercial aircraft. As such, the ATSB has assessed that the item is not related to the safety investigation or the search for MH370.
Underwater search operations
Recent poor weather conditions have severely impacted search operations. It is now anticipated it may take until around August to complete the 120,000 square kilometres, but this will be influenced by weather conditions over the coming months.
More than 105,000 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.
Officials from Malaysia, Australia and the People's Republic of China met on 20–21 June 2016 to discuss a range of matters related to the underwater search.
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. 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]
Weather conditions are forecast to be marginal over the coming week and search operations may again be disrupted.