Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery Day 41 , April 19 , 2014 --KUALA LUMPUR: The next 48 hours will be crucial in the underwater search for missing Malaysian Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 with the search area narrowed, said Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein - “Whatever happens in that period, we will then regroup and discuss our next move,” he said at the press conference at Royale Chulan hotel, Saturday ...... PERTH: A U.S. Navy deep-sea drone is diving to unprecedented depths to scour a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean floor for a missing Malaysian jetliner as the Malaysian government said it may use more remote control submarines to help with the search. ...... The Bluefin 21 sub has covered around 133 square kilometres (51 square miles) since it began diving into the depths earlier this week to scan the seabed with sonar. The latest data are being analysed, and a seventh mission is already underway, it said. So far, no debris has been spotted.
KUALA LUMPUR: The next 48 hours will be crucial in the underwater search for missing Malaysian Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 with the search area narrowed, said Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
“It is my understanding that the search effort is entering a critical stage in the next 48 hours.
“Whatever happens in that period, we will then regroup and discuss our next move,” he said at the press conference at Royale Chulan hotel, Saturday.
Hishammuddin also denied claims by certain media that the mapping of the seabed in the search would take six weeks to two months.
“That is not true. It should be completed by next week,” he said.
Australian officials supervising the search said on Saturday that the underwater search for the black box recorder based on “pings” possibly from the device could be completed in five to seven days.
After almost two months without a sign of wreckage, the current underwater search has been narrowed to a circular area with a radius of 10 km around the location in which one of four pings believed to have come from the black box recorders was detected on April 8, officials said.
“Provided the weather is favourable for launch and recovery of the AUV and we have a good run with the serviceability of the AUV, we should complete the search of the focused underwater area in five to seven days,” the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) told Reuters in an email, Saturday.
Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, left the KL International Airport at 12.41am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later while over the South China Sea. It was to have landed in Beijing at 6.30am on the same day.
A multinational search was mounted for the Boeing 777-200 aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then, after it was learnt that the plane had veered off course, in the southern Indian Ocean.
New Straits Times .....
19 April 2014| last updated at 12:35PM
MH370 Tragedy: Drone diving to record level in plane search
PERTH: A U.S. Navy deep-sea drone is diving to unprecedented depths to scour a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean floor for a missing Malaysian jetliner as the Malaysian government said it may use more remote control submarines to help with the search.
The Bluefin-21 and its "side scan" sonar has become the focal point of the search 2,000 km (1,200 miles) west of the Australian city of Perth, where authorities believe Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 hit the ocean after disappearing from radars on March 8 with 239 people on board.
Now in its seventh week, the search has centred on a city-sized area where a series of "pings" led authorities to believe the plane's black box may be located.
But after almost two weeks without a signal, and long past the black box battery's 30-day life expectancy, authorities have turned to the Bluefin-21.
After the US$4 million Bluefin-21's searches were frustrated by an automatic safety mechanism which returns it to the surface when it exceeds a depth of 4.5 km (14,763 feet), authorities have adjusted the mechanism and have sent it as deep as 4,695 metres (15,403 feet), a record.
But hopes that the Bluefin might soon guide searchers to wreckage are dwindling with no sign of the plane after six deployments spanning 133 square kilometres (83 square miles).
Footage from the Bluefin's sixth mission was still being analysed, the Joint Agency Coordination Centre said on Saturday.
Malaysian Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said in a Twitter post that the government's Deployment of Assets Committee was considering using more autonomous underwater vehicles. He did not elaborate.
On Monday, the search coordinator, retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said the air and surface search for debris would likely end by midweek as the operation shifted its focus to the ocean floor.
But the air and surface searches have continued daily, and today the Joint Agency Coordination Centre said up to 11 military aircraft and 12 ships would help with the day's search covering about 50,200 square kilometres (31,000 square miles) across three areas
A handout photo taken on April 16, and released on April 17, shows Scott Woodard (left) and Craig Turner (centre) from Phoenix International monitoring the Artemis' depth and speed as the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle scans the ocean floor for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 in the southern Indian Ocean. AFP PHOTO
PERTH: A robotic submarine has finished its sixth trip to the bottom of the Indian Ocean in the hunt for wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, six weeks after the aircraft mysteriously disappeared, the search coordination centre said today.
The Bluefin 21 sub has covered around 133 square kilometres (51 square miles) since it began diving into the depths earlier this week to scan the seabed with sonar.
The latest data are being analysed, and a seventh mission is already underway, it said. So far, no debris has been spotted.
The search has dragged on for more than a month off the coast of western Australia. Nothing from Flight 370 has been recovered, leaving the families of the 239 people on board bewildered and distraught.
On Friday, around three dozen Chinese relatives in Beijing held a prayer meeting for their missing spouses.
Candles burned on a table in the shape of a heart with the letters MH370 in the middle.
A banner behind them read in Chinese: “Husband, wife, come home soon.”
“There are different relationships touched by grief, from children, to parents, to siblings, and now we wanted spouses to have a chance to release their feelings,” said Jack Song, a representative for the relatives.
Many of those gathered sobbed as gentle music played and a microphone was passed around for anyone who wished to speak.
Meanwhile, today, the search continues in Australia. Up to 11 aircraft and 12 ships scanned the ocean surface for debris from the Boeing 777 that vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing on March 8.
Officials have said an oil slick found near the underwater search area is not related to the plane.
The parameters of that area were determined based on signals that were believed to be coming from the jet’s black boxes.
The sounds were last detected April 8, about the time the batteries on the beacons from the all-important flight data and cockpit recorders would have failed.
Radar and satellite data show the plane flew far off-course for unknown reasons and would have run out of fuel in the remote section of the Indian Ocean where the search has been focused.
The underwater hunt is being complicated by the depth of the largely unexplored silt-covered sea floor.
The U.S. Navy’s unmanned submarine has gone beyond its recommended limit of 4,500 meters (15,000 feet), according to the U.S. 7th Fleet.
That could risk the equipment, but it is being closely monitored.
The search coordination centre has said the search for floating debris on the surface will continue at least into next week.
Today, the visual surface search was to cover an estimated 50,200 square kilometres (19,382 square miles) of sea.
The U.S. alone has flown at least 35 missions, racking up 319 hours of flight time over nearly 450,000 nautical miles of ocean, according to the 7th Fleet.
Some families refuse to believe the aircraft crashed into the sea and have instead denounced the search effort as a cover-up.
“We believe the plane and our relatives are still alive. Bring them home, that’s all we ask,” said one of the Chinese relatives, who would only give his surname, Zhang.
“The only way there could be no evidence, no debris is if the plane landed intact.”
He and several other family members marched from the prayer service to a local park and held a brief sit-in on Friday.
For other waiting families, each day with no news brings more tortuous doubts as they try to go on living without knowing why their relatives didn’t come home.
“We ask that they find the plane, find our loved ones, live or dead, give us something,” Song said.
“Until the evidence is presented, we have a right to question.” --AP
This image provided by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) shows the search area planned for today and the Bluefin-21 AUV 7th mission which starts today.
19 April 2014| last updated at 04:15PM
MH370 Tragedy: Authorities roping in private companies assets to assist SAR
KUALA LUMPUR: Authorities are roping in private companies with deep water salvage and recovery work capabilities to support the search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the Asset Deployment committee had identified the companies with such assets.
"They include local companies DEFTECH and Boustead that had been tasked to discussed with their international collaborative partners such as SAAB, DCNS (Direction des Constructions Navales) and othersto identifythe relevant assets and instrumentsrequired for the search operation.
"I have also been in consultations with Jean Paul Troadec given his experience in handling Air France Flight 447 in deploying privatecommercial assets to assist intheir search operation," he said in a media briefing today,
Hishammuddin also said Bluefin-21, is scheduled to complete scanning the entire underwater search area where the pings have been detected within next week.
He said he had spoken with JACC chief Angus Houston who had briefed him on the images captured from the Bluefin-21 AUV.
"I can confirm that the Bluefin-21 has captured clear and sharpimages of the seabed while conducting its search mission in theunderwater search area.
"However, from all six missions conducted,no contacts of interesthave been found to date. Bluefin-21 AUV's seventh mission hascommenced this morning.
"From the images,Angus has also informed me that the terrain of the seabedis undulating and that the Bluefin – 21 is focusing on the immediate search area based on the pings that have been detected," he said.