Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Monday, May 5, 2014
Malaysia Airlines flight 370 Mystery May 5 , 2014 -- Underwater search phase set for down time ( Bluefin 21 maintenance , planning for next phase of search and securing new , sophisticated equipment) ...... CANBERRA: Officials today said it could be up to two months before new, more sophisticated equipment will be in the water to help the search for flight MH370 across what will be largely unmapped ocean floor ....... And note that even as the underwater search will be put on ice for spell , now the flight path is going to get a second look ?
New Straits Times.....
05 May 2014| last updated at 01:57PM
MH370 Tragedy: New equipment could arrive in two month’s time
CANBERRA: Officials today said it could be up to two months before new, more sophisticated equipment will be in the water to help the search for flight MH370 across what will be largely unmapped ocean floor.
The hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared on March 8 carrying 239 people was scaled back last week after coming up with nothing, despite an air and sea search of 4.64 million square kilometres of the southern Indian Ocean.
Australia today hosted a meeting in Canberra with the transport ministers of Malaysia and China to determine the way forward, which will focus on an intensified undersea search.
China is involved because two-thirds of the passengers were Chinese, while the plane is believed to have gone down in Australia’s search and rescue territory.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss admitted the hunt will take time, with the ocean bed in the prospective search zone several kilometres deep and largely unmapped, meaning specialist sonar equipment and other autonomous vehicles are needed.
He said a tender process would start soon to acquire them, but it would likely be two months before the equipment was actually in the water, while more oceanographic mapping was required to better understand where they would be looking.
“We are optimistic that we can do most of this in the space of one to two months so we will actually have more hardware in the water within a couple of months,” he said after meeting Malaysian Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Chinese counterpart Yang Chuantang.
“In the interim we’ll still have the Bluefin-21 working and we’ll get going on the oceanographic work that needs to be done so they’ll be no long interruptions in this search.” A submersible Bluefin-21 has been scouring the seabed in an area where undersea transmissions were detected, believed to have come from the plane’s black box flight recorders before their batteries died.
It was due back in Perth with the Australian navy vessel Ocean Shield on Monday for maintenance and software modifications before returning to the search zone.
Once back in the Indian Ocean it will be joined by a dedicated team of vessels from Australia, Malaysia and China. An Australian P-3 Orion jet will also be available to follow-up any leads.
Truss added that international experts will from Wednesday begin re-examining satellite imagery and all the data collated so far, while the Joint Agency Coordinating Centre, which has been organising the search, will be moved from Perth to Canberra.
He refused to put a time frame on when the plane might be found.
“We obviously have no idea when it’s likely to be found, we just always hope it is tomorrow,” he said.
“But so far our very, very best leads, and on days when we were quite confident that it was going to be the day, have all proved fruitless so it would be unduly optimistic to name a day or time.”--AFP
SYDNEY: An international panel of experts will re-examine all data gathered in the nearly two-month hunt for the missing Malaysia jet to ensure search crews who have been scouring a desolate patch of ocean for the plane have been looking in the right place, officials said today.
Senior officials from Malaysia, Australia and China met in the Australian capital to hash out the details of the next steps in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which will centre around an expanded patch of seafloor in a remote area of the Indian Ocean off Western Australia.
The area became the focus of the hunt after a team of analysts calculated the plane’s likeliest flight path based on satellite and radar data.
Starting Wednesday, that data will be re-analysed and combined with all information gathered thus far in the search, which hasn’t turned up a single piece of debris despite crews scouring more than 4.6 million square kilometres (1.8 million square miles) of ocean.
“We’ve got to this stage of the process where it’s very sensible to go back and have a look at all of the data that has been gathered, all of the analysis that has been done and make sure there’s no flaws in it, the assumptions are right, the analysis is right and the deductions and conclusions are right,” Angus Houston, head of the search operation, told reporters in Canberra.
Investigators have been stymied by a lack of hard data since the plane vanished on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A weekslong search for surface debris was called off last week after officials determined any wreckage that may have been floating has likely sunk.
“Unfortunately, all of that effort has found nothing,” Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss said. “We’ve been confident on the basis of the information provided that the search area was the right one, but in practice, that confidence has not been converted into us discovering any trace of the aircraft.”
Houston has warned the underwater search is likely to drag on for up to a year.
Houston and Truss met with Malaysian Acting Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Chinese Transport Minister Yang Chuantang in Canberra today to map out the next steps of the underwater search, which will focus on a 60,000 square kilometre (23,000 square mile) patch of seafloor.
Officials are contacting governments and private contractors to find out whether they have specialised equipment that can dive deeper than the Bluefin 21, an unmanned sub that has spent weeks scouring the seafloor in an area where sounds consistent with a plane’s black box were detected in early April.
The Bluefin has been limited by the fact that it can dive only to depths of 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles) — and parts of the search zone are likely deeper than that. Adding to the difficulties is the fact no one really knows exactly how deep the water in the search area is.
“I don’t know that anyone knows for sure, because it’s never been mapped,” Truss said, adding that detailed mapping of the seafloor will be a key focus of the next phase of the search.
In addition to deeper diving capabilities, the new equipment will be able to send information back to crews in real time. The Bluefin’s data can be downloaded only once it returns to the surface after each of its 16-hour dives.
It will likely take another two months before any new equipment is in the water, Truss said. The Bluefin will continue to be used in the meantime, though its search is currently on hold while the Ocean Shield, which has the sub on board, is taking on supplies at a base in Western Australia.--AP
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Husein (left), Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss (centre) and Chine Transport Minister (right) speaks during a press conference in Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. AFP Photo.
Star Online .....
Published: Monday May 5, 2014 MYT 12:54:00 PM Updated: Monday May 5, 2014 MYT 5:51:46 PM
MH370: Focus on deep ocean searches, new phase of operations to cost RM182mil
Australia's Transport Minister Warren Truss (second left) speaks during a press conference with Malaysia's Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (left), Chinese Transport Minister Yang Chuantang (second right) and Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) chief coordinator Angus Houston (back right) at Parliament House in Canberra on May 5, 2014.
KUALA LUMPUR: The search for Flight MH370 will enter a new phase with intensified searches over a larger area of the south Indian Ocean floor following a trilateral meeting in Canberra between Malaysia, China and Australia.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the trilateral discussions were structured, with all three countries expressing a sense of urgency to continue with the new phase of the search, adding that it was an opportunity for other nations and research institutes to join in the operations.
He was speaking at a joint press conference with Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and Chinese Transport Minister Yang Chuantang on Monday.
On Malaysia's handling of the search and response to the initial reports of the MH370 investigation so far, Hishammuddin quoting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said: "there were things Malaysia did right and others Malaysia could do better."
"Its not easy to benchmark whether Malaysia has done right or wrong in its response to MH370. The Panel of Inquiry will go through this and they will decide if the four-hour delay, if you (reporters) were alluding to that was reasonable.
"We have been consistent in our approach. When the panel sits down and see how we have done this search, they will decide if we have done it right or wrong," he said.
Truss said the trilateral meetings would start on Wednesday to analyse the data and information collected from the search thus far, estimating that the new phase of the search could cost up to AUD$60mil (RM182mil).
"A key element of the next stage will involve deep ocean searches and a mix of sonar and capable underwater autonomous vehicles. We are looking at where this equipment may be available.
"Oceanographic mapping will also be looked at as much of the area has never been mapped," Truss said.
He also announced plans to relocate the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) from Perth to Canberra to be closer to the Malaysian and Chinese representatives, while the base of operations would still remain in Perth.
To date, there have been 334 search flights and about 4.5 million square kilometres of ocean scoured in the still fruitless search for the Boeing 777, carrying 239 people. All the countries in the search until now have borne their own costs, Truss said.
Yang, representing the Chinese government said the search would not be stopped or slacked, with authorities pledging full cooperation in the new phase of operations.
For the transitional period of the new phase, Yang said the Chinese government would deploy three search vessels and will select a company with sophisticated technological assets to organise a follow up search in the new phase.
Flight MH370 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 arrived 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.
After an analysis of satellite data indicated that the plane's last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced on March 24 that Flight MH370 "ended in the southern Indian Ocean". The search continues from there.