Bluefin-2. Spare parts for both defects will be dispatched from the United Kingdom

As advised yesterday, the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, was recovered about two hours into its first mission 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 go alongside so engineers can make a full assessment of the transponder repairs.

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

Source: JACC

Bluefin-21 was deployed from Ocean Shield yesterday afternoon but was recovered about two hours later to investigate communications problems

14 May 2014—pm. After a short port visit, the ADV Ocean Shield yesterday returned to the vicinity of the acoustic signals acquired by the Towed Pinger Locator in April to continue the underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, was deployed from Ocean Shieldyesterday afternoon but was recovered about two hours later to investigate communications problems. Work continues to rectify the issue and to date, Bluefin-21 has not redeployed.

The international search effort presently includes assets from Australia, the People’s Republic of China, Malaysia and the United States.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) has relocated from Perth to Canberra and is based at the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

The JACC now includes a Military Coordination and Sub-Surface Planning Cell, which includes a Royal Australian Navy Hydrographer and US Navy Sea Systems Command representative.

Preparations to conduct the bathymetric survey are continuing. A Chinese survey ship is now in the search area and will assist in preparations for future operations.

Vessels from Australia, Malaysia and China and a RAAF aircraft remain on standby should any debris on the surface require investigation.

Source: JACC

Bluefin-21 came up empty-handed after its eighth mission Monday

The Bluefin-21, an underwater drone searching the depths of the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, came up empty-handed after completing a search of more than two-thirds of the designated search after its eighth mission Monday, Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre, or JACC, said in a statement, even as another Malaysia Airlines plane made an emergency landing Monday.

According to the statement, the search area was limited to a 10-kilometer radius around the signals heard on April 8. Earlier reports had said, citing government officials, that Malaysia is preparing to issue death certificates for the people on board the plane, which went missing March 8 with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and that officials would discuss offering financial assistance to relatives of the missing passengers. Tropical Cyclone Jack could increase the chance of wind and rains in the region, and further complicate the search, the JACC statement said.

Kim Beazley, Australia’s ambassador to the U.S., had reportedly told CNN on Saturday that search operations for the missing plane could be modified, including the use of other underwater search equipment, “if nothing is found in the next few days.”

On Monday, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH192 to Bangalore, India, was forced to return to, and make an emergency landing, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport about four hours after take-off. BBC reported, citing the airline, that the Boeing 737-800’s landing gear had malfunctioned and a tire had burst, and cited passengers as saying that the emergency landing was “calm” and “smooth.”

According to a Xinhua report, Malaysia’s acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein demanded a quick report from the airline about the incident.

“I give them two days. On Wednesday, I want to see an early report as this is not something like MH370 that is missing in the Indian Ocean, it is related to the condition of the tyres (of the landing gear),” he reportedly said.

Source: IbTimes

 

U.S. Navy Bluefin-21 AUV maintenance is performed

Publicado el 18/04/2014

INDIAN OCEAN (April 11, 2014) Maintenance is conducted on the U.S. Navy Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) aboard the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield. Joint Task Force 658 is currently supporting Operation Southern Indian Ocean, searching for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Blair/Released)

Source:U.S. Navy

Flight 370: Underwater drones find nothing after scouring half of search area

(CNN) — The underwater drone scanning for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 finished its seventh mission Sunday, having covered about half its intended territory without finding any sign of the missing plane.

This has been the case for 44 days now, which seems like an eternity for the relatives of the 239 passengers and crew on board, still hoping for a miracle or, at least, closure.

The Bluefin-21 drone started its eighth mission soon after the previous one ended Sunday morning, surveying the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean for traces of the Boeing 777.

These efforts may be a main focus of the search, but they aren’t the only part.

Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre announced Sunday morning that up to 11 military aircraft and 12 ships would participate in the day’s search. They planned to look in two zones that, together, encompass about 18,700 square miles (48,500 square kilometers).

A day earlier, acting Malaysian Transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that “experts have narrowed down the search area.”

But are they actually closer to finding anything? “It’s difficult to say,” Hishammuddin conceded, adding the search “is at a critical juncture.”

“I appeal to everybody around the world,” he said, “to pray and pray hard that we find something to work on over the next couple of days.”

The failure to find clues to the plane’s disappearance does not mean that the operation will stop, only that other approaches — such as a wider scope or the use of other assets — may be considered, Hishammuddin told reporters. “The search will always continue.”

Still, he said, “With every passing day, the search has become more and more difficult.”

Mother Nature isn’t making this task much easier.

Tropical Cyclone Jack is circulating northwest of the search area. And while it won’t hit directly, this system should increase winds and rains on Sunday into Monday.

Malaysian authorities briefed families of people aboard Flight 370 behind closed doors Sunday afternoon in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Selamat Bin Omar, whose 29-year-old son was a passenger, told CNN that officials dealt with practical matters, such as how the families could make bank transactions.

Hamid Ramlan, whose daughter and son-in-law were on the plane, said he learned nothing new at the briefing.

He said most families are clinging to hope and some believe reports that the plane was hijacked. He thinks the plane crashed and there were no survivors.

Passengers’ relatives list questions

It was early on March 8 when Flight 370 set off from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, destined for Beijing.

The plane never made it.

What happened has been a confounding mystery, with the frustration of passengers’ family members compounded by a scarcity of details from authorities.

New bits of information that have come out six weeks later may help round out the picture but don’t answer the main question: Why did the plane go off course, and where is it now?

These recent developments include a senior Malaysian aviation source’s assertion that the jetliner deviated from its flight path while inside Vietnamese airspace.

It turned left, then climbed to 39,000 feet — below its maximum safe limit of 43,100 feet — and maintained that altitude for about 20 minutes over the Malay Peninsula before beginning to descend, the source said.

Malaysia Airlines has declined to answer CNN’s questions on various matters — including the fact that, according to the source, the missing jet was equipped with four emergency locator transmitters. When triggered by a crash, ELTs are designed to transmit their location to a satellite.

Relatives of people aboard the jetliner have drawn up 26 questions that they want addressed by Malaysian officials, who are to meet with them next week in Beijing. Most of the Flight 370 passengers were Chinese.

Among them: What’s in the flight’s log book? Can they review the jet’s maintenance records? Can they listen to recordings of the Boeing 777 pilot’s conversations with air traffic controllers just before contact was lost?

Hishammuddin has defended his government’s handling of the operation and accused members of the media of focusing on the Chinese families. He said relatives of passengers and crew from other nations represented have not had problems.

“The most difficult part of any investigation of this nature is having to deal with the families,” he said.