Ocean Shield will today return to Fleet Base West to replenish its supplies and conduct routine maintenance and software modifications to Phoenix Autonomous Underwater Vehicle ‘Artemis’ Bluefin-21.
On completion of the short port visit, Ocean Shield will return immediately to the search area where the underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will continue.
The just-completed deployment began on 31 March with 56 personnel and specialist search equipment including a Towed Pinger Locator and Phoenix Autonomous Underwater Vehicle ‘Artemis’ Bluefin-21.
Although the search to date has not uncovered any evidence of possible aircraft debris during operations, the data collected during the 35 days at sea will assist in narrowing the search area for the final resting place of MH370.
The Australian Government is proud of the combined efforts of the Royal Australian Navy, United States Navy, civilian contractors from Phoenix International, Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the ship’s crew.
Also at the request of the Australian Government, the U.S. Navy will continue supporting the MH370 sub-surface search effort with the Bluefin-21 side scan sonar for approximately 4 more weeks.
Press Release, May 5, 2014; Image: Australian Navy