It is with a heavy heart that the last swing of the last ship (Fugro Equator) through the MH370 priority search area of the southern Indian Ocean is reported today.
Despite the best efforts of the Australian managed search, the sunk heavy wreckage of the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER hasn’t been located.
As exhaustively reported earlier, there are grounds for suspecting that this wreckage may lie somewhat to the north or NE of the designated search area.
It now looks as though the examination of the final areas of uncertainty within the 120,000 square kilometres priority zone will have been ‘cleared’ early in the New Year, although the weather can still frustrate such estimates.
These are the key parts of this week’s search update.
Key developments this week
- Fugro Equator arrived at Fremantle on Monday, 12 December 2016, to conduct a routine re-supply. The vessel departed on the same day for the search area to continue using the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). This is to be the vessel’s final swing in the search area.
- On Wednesday, 7 December 2016, Dong Hai Jiu 101 arrived in Fremantle to demobilise the Phoenix Remora III Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). The vessel departed from Fremantle on Saturday, 10 December, to return to Shanghai.
MH370 disappeared as a transponder identified flight over the Gulf of Thailand on March 8, 2014, on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
So many questions remain unanswered. So many possibilities arise.
It could be that the pieces of the jet lie embedded or covered in deep or fine layers of silt.
It could be that the main debris field begins a metre from the start or finish of one of the sonar scanning runs that have ‘mowed’ the sea floor, up the slopes of mud volcanoes, down the sides of sinuous chasms, and across the crumpled, wrinkled wastes of a seascape no human eye has ever seen, nor could without advanced technological assistance.
All or some of the different elements of various speculations as to the causes of MH370’s disappearance and the source point for the bits of identified wreckage that have washed ashore on Indian Ocean islands and African coasts may have played a part.
No-one knows, although the strong suspicion remains that not everything that authorities knew about MH370 and the circumstances that arose before and during its flight to oblivion have been disclosed.
The disappearance of MH370 is if anything more mysterious at this moment than it was the night it vanished.