Dutch Survey Vessel Joins Search for MH370

Posted by Eric Haun
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Fugro Equator (IMage courtesy of Fugro)

Dutch engineers this week started a months-long survey to map unchartered deep-sea terrain at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, the next step in the search for the wreck of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, a company official told Reuters.

A survey ship from Dutch engineering company Fugro , carrying 40 crew and technicians, began mapping out an area larger than the Netherlands, some 1000 miles (1,600 km) east of the northwest coast of Australia.

The search for the lost plane is being coordinated by the Australian Transportation Safety Board and is expected to cost 60 million Australian dollars ($56 million) over the first year.

"It's a rough area," Rob Luijnenburg, strategy director at Fugro, which usually conducts surveys for oil and telecommunications companies, said in an interview on Thursday.

"The area has mountains, ridges, valleys, and you can't see a lot down there unless you make it visible with technology," he said. "For the first phase you need a good map. Once you have that you can plan the next phase."

It will take roughly three months for the Fugro Equator survey ship, which is being assisted by a Chinese naval vessel, to map out the typography of the ocean floor.

Once an accurate map has been constructed with the aid of computers on board the ship, searchers can begin more detailed, slower surveys in a bid to find the wreck itself, using unmanned robots and submarines to search the ocean floor.

Flight MH370, carrying 239 crew and passengers, mostly Chinese, disappeared from radar screens on March 8 shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing.

UNCHARTERED SEABED

Investigators say what little evidence they have to work with, including the loss of communications, suggests the Boeing 777 was deliberately diverted thousands of kilometres from its scheduled route.

The area being mapped is largely uncharted, Luijnenburg said, since the area's remoteness and depth at 6,000 metres placed it beyond the reach of the oil industry, which is still pushing down to depths approaching 3,000 metres.

With a long maritime history and seafaring expertise, Dutch companies are leaders in the field of complex, large-scale undersea search and salvage operations.

Wrecks on which Dutch companies have worked include the raising of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk, which sank in the depths of the Barents Sea in 2000 with the loss of all on board.

More recently, Dutch firms were contracted to help salvage the Costa Concordia cruise liner, which sank off the coast of Italy in 2012.

Fugro's ship will use an echo sounder for the topographic mapping stage, building up a relatively low-resolution picture of the entire area as quickly as possible, its crew staying at sea for a month at a time.

"It's extremely unlikely that we will be able to pick up something the size of an aircraft and make it out to be that at this stage," Luijnenburg said.

Built in 2012, the vessel is one of four Fugro commissioned that is custom-built for undersea surveying, designed to be quiet and not interfere with the sensitive sonar mapping systems, which measure echoes bounced off the sea floor.

What little is known of the topography of the area comes from satellite imaging and from surveys made in the past by ships that happened to be crossing the area with sonar turned on, he said. Data gathered earlier is inaccurate, because most of it was collected without the help of satellite positioning.

($1 = 1.0710 Australian Dollars)

(By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Anthony Deutsch and Sonya Hepinstall)

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter January 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Technology

Norbulk Selects Parker Kittiwake’s Cat Fines Test Kit

Parker Kittiwake, a leading global supplier of asset control and protection technology, has today announced a significant order of its recently launched Cat Fines

European Consortium Launches Blue Nodules Project

On 1 February a European consortium launched a new Horizon 2020 project: Blue Nodules. This project addresses the challenge of creating a viable and sustainable

Seafarers help Sought to Improve Onboard Design

The Nautical Institute and CIRM (the principal international association for marine electronics companies) today launched a joint initiative to improve the usability

Casualties

Topaz Responder Saves Refugee Migrants

Topaz Energy and Marine has emerged as an unlikely player in the effort to save refugee migrants risking their lives on the sea crossing from Turkey to Greece’s islands in order to reach Europe.

USCG Issues Zika Virus Precautions

Recently, the World Health Organization designated the Zika virus as a global public health emergency. This has prompted questions from the maritime industry regarding

Boxship Aground Near Port of Hamburg

A Chinese container ship that is one of the world's largest has run aground on the river Elbe near Germany's largest port Hamburg but shipping to the harbour continues as normal,

News

First Women's Expedition to the Arctic

Company "MyArctic-expeditions" organize the first women's expedition to the Arctic Ocean. The expedition will start on March 5 in the capital of the Nenets Autonomous

Topaz Responder Saves Refugee Migrants

Topaz Energy and Marine has emerged as an unlikely player in the effort to save refugee migrants risking their lives on the sea crossing from Turkey to Greece’s islands in order to reach Europe.

Sardines Boost Murmansk Port Turnover

In January 2016 turnover of the Murmansk Marine Fishing Port reached 22 thousand tons of cargo, including 15 thousand tons of fish. This is higher than last year,

Vessels

Topaz Responder Saves Refugee Migrants

Topaz Energy and Marine has emerged as an unlikely player in the effort to save refugee migrants risking their lives on the sea crossing from Turkey to Greece’s islands in order to reach Europe.

Globus Maritime Reclassifies Board Member

Globus Maritime Limited, a dry bulk shipping company, announced today that when Georgios Karageorgiou, a Class I director of Globus Maritime Limited  resigned on December 28,

Antietam, McCampbell Build Relationships at IFR 2016

Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) arrived Feb. 4 in India

Surveyors

DNV GL, RS Ink Cooperation Deal

DNV GL’s Maritime CEO Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen recently met with Konstantin Palnikov, Director General of the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS), at the RS head office in St.

Drones Allow Surveys Without Scaffolds

DNV GL has completed several tests using drones to support hull surveys of vessels. Using drones to visually check the condition of remote structural components

Dual Class: RS and DNV GL Partner

In a January 28 meeting between RS Director General Konstantin Palnikov and DNV GL Maritime CEO Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen at the Head Office of Russian Maritime Register of Shipping,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1183 sec (8 req/sec)