As Malaysia, China and Australia prepare for the Canberra talks on the next phase of the MH370 search the GeoResonance tip off that it may have found it in the Bay of Bengal has lead to nothing.
Then again, this is also true of the much more soundly based Australia led search of likely impact zones in the Indian Ocean around 1600 kms west to north west of Perth.
Malaysia’s acting transport minister and minister of defence Hishammuddin Hussein, who will be at the Canberra talks which officially begin tomorrow, has tweeted that vessels from the Bangladeshi Navy have found nothing.
It needs to be said at the outset that the GeoResonance press campaign, which also promoted its capabilities to find missing sunken H-bombs in unquestioning media outlets, raised some interesting implications.
One would be that the Inmarsat satellite traces of the Malaysia Airlines 777, which vanished from normal ATC radars on 8 March, with 239 people on board, were variously fictitious or hopelessly misinterpreted, since they showed that MH370 was airborne for seven hours 38 minutes and eventually flew south into the vastness of the Indian Ocean.
To have come down where GeoResonance claimed to have found mineral traces that might have come from MH370, it either crashed much sooner than that interval, or circled around for hours in what is a fairly busy area for air traffic.
Which in turn might have meant that the unique identifiers for each engine which were transmitting standby signals from the jet to the Inmarsat satellite parked over the east Indian Ocean, in case data from them was to be sent to the maker Rolls-Royce, all had to be faked, or spoofed, or whatever.
An invoice from the Bangladesh Navy to GeoResonance for the costs of deploying three ships for at least three days each might be appropriate. It could be charged to its PR account.
Now that the originally suppressed Malaysia interim report on the disappearance of MH370 has been released, since last Thursday, the authorities in KL must surely be relieved that none of the mainstream media have demanded answers as to why they persisted with a search effort in the South China Sea for many days when they knew within 24 hours that it had been seen on military radar departing from its intended flight path, and flying across the Malaysia Peninsula instead of continuing on a course that would have passed over Vietnam.
(MH370’s identifying ATC transponder went offline shortly after the flight signed off from Malaysia controlled airspace prior to entering Vietnam controlled airspace. It was however visible to Malaysia’s defence radar, and as the originally suppressed interim report makes clear, but not apparently to some media, the government of Malaysia knew by 9 am the morning after it ‘disappeared’ that the jet went back across the country and out into the Andaman Sea, toward the Bay of Bengal, and not onwards as intended across Vietnam and the South China Sea toward its destination of Beijing.)
For the talks in Canberra to be fruitful China’s openly expressed contempt for such bungling in the early stages of the search of MH370 will need to be conciliated.
The three parties are seeking agreement on the contracts that are to be in effect from around the end of this month for heavy duty towed sonar mappers to be deployed in a high definition search of up to 60,000 square kms of the Indian Ocean sea floor where it is estimated that MH370 crashed to the very minute that a last, unusual, and incomplete standby signal was being exchanged between the satellite and the 777-200ER.
Around 500 square kms have already been examined without anything of interest being discovered by the autonomous Bluefin-21 submersible that had been stationed on the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield.
The ship and submersible are currently headed for shore where after crew and supplies replenishment the Bluefin-21 dives will resume in areas adjacent to that originally deemed to be the most promising starting point after what are believed to have been pinger signals from MH370’s two flight recorders were heard.
Under international convention Malaysia is responsible for the investigation of the disappearance of MH370 and the publishing of a report that will seek to illuminate the causes and present safety recommendations arising from this to the international aviation community.
Under the same body of conventions, Australia is responsible for the search and recovery operation, as the airliner is believed to have crashed inside its international S and R zone.
China will be asked to contribute to the estimated cost of $60 million for the sea floor search, for which both the governments of Australia are to let contracts to industrial scale mineral resource enterprises which possess the best technology available for the search.
China had already volunteered and deployed extensive air and sea support to the first stage of the Indian Ocean search, as well as the pointless South China Sea search.