Operational Update MH370 Operational Search

Operational Update

At the request of the Malaysian Government, Australia has accepted responsibility for the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is leading the underwater search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

Joint Agency Coordination Centre 
MH370 Operational Search Update

10 August 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 Discovery is conducting search activities. The vessel will depart the search area for the last time on 11 August and transit to Singapore to be readied for its next project, unrelated to the search for MH370.
  • Fugro Equator is conducting search operations.
  • Dong Hai Jiu 101 arrived in Fremantle on 8 August for a scheduled port visit.

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.

Ministers went to great lengths to explain that this does not mean the termination of the search; should credible new information emerge which can be used to identify the specific location of the aircraft, consideration will be given to determining next steps.

2015_Indicative Search Area _Australia Overview _A4
Click image to enlarge

Fugro Discovery

The search vessel Fugro Discovery will be departing the search area on 11 August 2016, to undertake mandatory scheduled maintenance, bringing to an end its involvement in the search for MH370. The search plan provides for the remaining search area to be completed using the other vessels.

Fugro Discovery was brought from the United Kingdom to Fremantle in 2014 to join the search. After the search crew and equipment were mobilised, and following extensive sea trials and equipment testing, the vessel travelled to thesearch area where it commenced underwater search operations on 23 October 2014.

Since that time, Fugro Discovery has conducted a total of 16 swings. A swing consists of the journey from port to the search area, the time spent conducting search operations, and the journey back to port – generally around 40 days at sea. On each swing there have typically been around 30 personnel on the vessel including the ship’s crew and the search operation specialists. A total of 124 people have worked on the vessel; 13 of whom have worked on more than 7 swings.

In addition to the 51,000 square kilometres of the ocean floor searched by Fugro Discovery, the vessel has also travelled around 80,000 kilometres during its 16 transits from port to the search area and return.


Weather conditions are forecast to be poor over the coming days, deteriorating further towards the end of the week. Strong winds and rough seas are expected to impact on search operations.-Australian Transport Safety Bureau

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