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Joint Agency Coordination Centre

MH370 Operational Search Update—
21 December 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.

The Australian Government remains committed to the MH370 search. While search operations will continue uninterrupted over the Christmas/New Year period, there will be no MH370 Operational Search Update until Wednesday, 4 January 2017.

Key developments this week

  • Fugro Equator arrived in the search area on Monday, 19 December, where it will continue missions using the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).
  • On 20 December 2016, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) released its report MH370–First Principles Review and CSIRO's supporting report The search for MH370 and ocean surface drift. Both reports are available on the ATSB website: atsb.gov.au/mh370/

Search Status

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.

Ministers have reiterated that 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.

Currently it is expected the search operations of the current area will be completed in January 2017.

[Click map to view larger image]


A low pressure system is causing strong winds in the south, with a front crossing the area Tuesday and Thursday causing heavy swells from Tuesday. This may impact AUV operations.