MH370 Operational Search Update—
30 November 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 Equator is continuing underwater search operations in the north of the 120,000 square-kilometre search area using the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). As of today, Fugro Equator has undertaken a total of 21 missions this swing. 5 AUV missions were successfully completed this week, with an average duration of 25 ½ hours.
- Dong Hai Jiu 101 is continuing underwater search operations using the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) in the south of the search area with some operations affected by unsuitable weather conditions. Dong Hai Jiu 101 has conducted a total of 24 ROV dives during the swing.
Underwater search imagery
The underwater search continues with an AUV searching areas of challenging terrain and an ROV examining a range of sonar contacts which have been previously identified. Over the past week, ROV missions have revealed those contacts to be geological or man-made objects.
Dive 17 identified a contact cluster as geological comprising basaltic rock outcrops on a slope. Some outcrops were 5m in length and 0.75 m high.
Dive 19 video footage identified a single contact as a discarded standard 200 litre oil barrel.
Four (4) Images below:
[Click to view larger image]
Underwater Search Operations
More than 110,000 square kilometres of the seafloor have been searched so far.
At a meeting of Ministers from Malaysia, Australia and the People's Republic of China held on 22 July 2016, it was agreed that should the aircraft not be located in the current search area, and in the absence of credible new evidence leading to the identification of a specific location of the aircraft, the search would be suspended upon completion of the 120,000 square kilometre search area.
Due to poor weather conditions over the Southern hemisphere winter, it is expected searching the entire 120,000 square kilometre search area will be completed by around January/February 2017.
Ministers went to great lengths to explain this does not mean the termination of the search. Should credible new information emerge that can be used to identify the specific location of the aircraft, consideration will be given to determining next steps.
[Click map to view larger image]
Weather conditions are suitable for AUV and mostly suitable for ROV operations during the upcoming week. Weather is not expected to impact operations on Dong Hai Jiu 101 or Fugro Equator for any extended period.