UPDATE: Recovered Oil Slick Sample Not Related to MH370
April 18, 2014
Preliminary analysis of the oil slick sample collected by the Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Ocean Shield on Sunday has confirmed that it is not aircraft engine oil or hydraulic fluid, Australian Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said on Thursday.
The sample arrived in Perth yesterday where it was tested and analyzed.
Additionally, Phoenix International, with the assistance of Bluefin, have assessed that there is a small but acceptable level of risk in operating the vehicle in depths in excess of 4,500 metres. This expansion of the operating parameters allows the Bluefin-21 to search the sea floor within the predicted limits of the current search area.
JACC denied media reports claiming that it would take Bluefin-21 anywhere from six weeks to two months to scan the entire underwater search area.
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, JACC said.
“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,” JACC’s release read.
Up to 11 military aircraft and 12 ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totalling approximately 51,870 square kilometres, across three areas.
Overnight Bluefin-21 AUV completed another mission in the underwater search area and has commenced mission five. Bluefin-21 has searched approximately 110 square kilometres to date. Data analysis from the fourth mission did not provide any contacts of interest.
The weather forecast for today is isolated showers and south easterly winds.
Press Release, April 18, 2014; Image: JACC