MH370: Experts to review satellite ping data

The hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 will re-examine the satellite data which led the multinational search team to focus its efforts in the southern Indian Ocean.

In a press briefing given by Malaysia’s defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that 69 days since MH370 went missing, Malaysia, along with China and Australia, have met and agreed upon the next course of action as part of a new ‘transition phase’. This will prioritise a deep-sea search and see the air and surface activities suspended.

Hishammuddin said an Australian P3 Orion and naval ships from Malaysia, Australia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will remain on standby in Perth for any eventuality and that in the meantime sub-surface search using the Bluefin – 21 will continue its efforts.

During this transition phase, Hishammuddin said the three main priorities would be to re-analyse all data to verify a more accurate search area. This analysis will be conducted by the group of experts together with UK satellite firm Inmarsat. Other priorities would be to conduct a bathymetric survey involving an extensive mapping of the seabed and by identifying and deploying the relevant towed and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) required for the terrain

The comprehensive bathymetric survey was needed so that experts can better understand the sea bed terrain to ensure the Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) and Deep Water Towed Side Scan Sonars, which are expensive and scarce, are safely deployed. “The same knowledge of the ocean floor will be required for the operation of the Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV),” said Hishammuddin.

Procurement will be conducted as soon as possible through an open or limited tender process to ensure cost-effectiveness and best value for money in consultation with Malaysia and China.

Meanwhile, the Australian-led search effort reported that the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, was recovered about two hours into its first mission on May 14 since returning to the search area so a communications problem could be investigated.

During the recovery, Bluefin-21 was damaged but was able to be repaired expeditiously with spare parts on board the ADV Ocean Shield.

Examination of the communications problem has established that a hardware defect exists in the transponder mounted on the Ocean Shield and that a defect may also exist in the transponder mounted on the Bluefin-21. This inhibits the ability of the two devices to communicate with each other.

As a consequence, spare parts for both defects will be dispatched from the United Kingdom. The parts are expected to arrive in Western Australia on Sunday.

Ocean Shield is currently en route to Dampier, Western Australia, to receive the transponder parts. The journey is anticipated to take a number of days. At this stage, Ocean Shield is expected to go alongside so engineers can make a full assessment of the transponder repairs.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre said it will provide further information regarding the serviceability of Bluefin-21 and the movements of Ocean Shield as it becomes available.

Posted in Airlines, News

2 Responses to MH370: Experts to review satellite ping data

  1. Bengal says:

    So, did the Bangladesh navy search amount to anything?

  2. Broken Record says:

    So, why have we heard nothing from GeoResonance and the Bangaldesh navy?