The Bluefin-21 scouring the ocean floor for the black boxes from MH370 has now completed its second full 16 hour mission after the first two missions encountered teething problems.
There are reports that on the last mission it may have seen “something of interest” and will be sent back to have another look. However AirlineRatings cannot get confirmation of this – on or off record.
Professor Charitha Pattiaratchi, Winthrop Professor of Coastal Oceanography at the University of Western Australia suggested that the first few missions of the Bluefin 21 are usually more shakedowns to become familiar with the operating environment close to the sea floor.
“There will be safety features in the software to abort the mission if certain parameters are exceeded.
“These quite likely can be adjusted once they are familiar with the conditions.”
On Tuesday the Australian Maritime Safety Authority moved the visual search area for debris to an area to the north of a previous search conducted in late March.
The new area is 62,063 square kilometres and is 2,200 kilometres west north-west of Perth and over 1000km to the south-west of where the search is being conducted for the black boxes.
Ocean Shield and HMS Echo were continuing operations in the suspected black box zone.
Oil found 5km downsea and downwind from the black box pinger location has been found not to be associated with MH370.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre has clarified media reports that the Bluefin-21 search will take up to two months to scan the entire underwater search area.
JACC told AirlineRatings.com that “since the US Navy provided comment some days ago, the underwater search has been significantly narrowed through detailed acoustic analysis conducted on the four signal detections made by the Towed Pinger Locator on ADV Ocean Shield.”
“This analysis has allowed the definition of a reduced and more focused underwater search area.”
“This represents the best lead we have in relation to missing flight MH370 and where the current underwater search efforts are being pursued to their completion so we can either confirm or discount the area as the final resting place of MH370.”
AirlineRatings.com understands that the serach area is focused solely on a tight area where the pings were located over a week ago.