Update on MH370 Search
10 June 2014—pm
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) today signed a contract with deep water survey company, Fugro Survey Pty Ltd (Fugro), to conduct a bathymetric survey of the seafloor in the search area for missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 (MH370).
The bathymetric survey will provide a map of the underwater search zone, charting the contours, depths and composition of the seafloor in water depths up to 6,000 metres. The survey will provide crucial information to help plan the deep water search for MH370 which is scheduled to commence in August.
Fugro will use the state-of-the-art vessel MV Fugro Equator which is equipped with a deep-water multibeam echo sounder system and carries expert survey personnel to undertake the survey operations.
MV Fugro Equator will join the Chinese PLA-Navy ship Zhu Kezhen, which recently began conducting bathymetric survey operations in the search area.
Zhu Kezhen is currently in Fremantle for repairs to its equipment.
The two vessels are anticipated to take around three months to complete the bathymetric survey of the 60,000 square kilometre search zone.
As the lead agency in the search for MH370, the ATSB commissioned Fugro to undertake the bathymetric survey through a limited tender process. The survey vessel will be directed by the ATSB. The ship will send survey data to the ATSB and Geoscience Australia which will be used to progressively build a map of the search area.
The ATSB has also invited organisations to submit proposals to conduct the underwater search through a request for tender process. The Request for Tender was released on AusTender on 4 June 2014 with the closing date and time for submissions being 5:30pm AEST on 30 June 2014.
More detailed information about the search (including the bathymetric survey) can be found on the ATSB's website www.atsb.gov.au/mh370.