After a somewhat untidy handling of its attitude to the search for MH370 this week, Australia’s PM Tony Abbott has made it clear the government will wind it back rather than abandon it should nothing be found in the near future.

In an address to Parliament marking the first anniversary of the airliner’s disappearance Mr Abbott said “the search cannot continue at its current intensity forever.”

However he underlined the hope that the current search, investigating a priority search area in the southern Indian Ocean, would succeed in finding the lost Malaysia Airlines 7770-200ER which vanished while flying between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing with 239 people on board on 8 March last year.

Shortly before he spoke the Joint Agency Coordination Centre released examples of the sightings of objects of interest on the sea floor that were being picked up by side scanning sonar devices.  The top of page image is of a category three finding, of objects that stood out from their surroundings but need not necessarily be man made, and the more enigmatic category two image below is of an object (or objects) that appears to be man made.

No additional explanation of both images is immediately available, but the category system was outlined in more detail before a Senate Estimates hearing last week by Peter Foley, the ATSB crash investigator directing the Australian led search operation.

Both images were made in complete darkness by synthetic aperture sonar scanning devices towed by GO Phoenix one of four vessels engaged in the deep sea search.

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