Ocean Infinity Further Expands MH370 Search Area


Fig. 1: The seabed search as depicted in the most recent Malaysian report

When Malaysia announced on January 10 of this year that it had contracted with Ocean Infinity, a US-registered company, to relaunch the seabed search for missing Malaysian airliner MH370, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai stated that there was an 85 percent chance that the plane’s wreckage would be found within a 25,000 square kilometer search zone previously demarcated by the Australia National Transport Board. As I’ve noted in earlier posts, Australia’s stated position at the time was that if the plane was not found in this area, which stretched from 36 degrees to 32.5 degrees south latitude, it could offer no rationale for looking anywhere else.

On January 30, the Government of Malaysia released its first weekly “MH370 Operational Search Update” showing the progress of Ocean Infinity’s search vessel, Seabed Constructor. In addition to the ATSB’s 25,000 square kilometer search area, the new report designated two “extension” areas, stretching up to 29 degrees south latitude. (See Figure 2, below.) “The advice to proceed north towards 30S latitude came from Independent Group members,” News.com.au noted, referring to a theory put forward by Victor Iannello that the plane’s captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, had hijacked his own plane and set its navigation system for Antarctica.

Fig. 2: The seabed search area as depicted in the first Malaysian update.

That bizarre hypothesis is about to be put to the test: at time of writing–April 18, 2018, 1200Z–Seabed Constructor is working an area around 30.5S. Working at its current rate, it will have soon have finished scouring both the extension areas and laid Iannello’s idea to rest.

What then? With the ATSB’s and the IG’s ideas all exhausted, one might argue that it would be time to pack up and go home. But this is not what will happen. Yesterday, in its 12th weekly update, the Malaysian government unveiled a new supplementary search area, to stretch all the way up to 26 degrees south latitude. (See Figure 1, top.) As far as I know, no one has yet hypothesized a scenario that matches the data and would result in the plane ending up this far north, but hope springs eternal. Perhaps Ocean Infinity, for whatever reason, just wants the process to drag on for as long as possible.

By the way, little attention has been paid to the fact that Seabed Constructor has blasted through the Broken Ridge area of steep, craggy terrain while scarcely breaking stride. This is a testament to the capability of its AUV technology. It also rules out an idea that has been promoted by certain MH370 theorists, to the effect that the captain abducted the plane and headed for Broken Ridge in the hope that the wreckage would never be found there. That idea can now be scratched off the fast-dwindling list of possibilities.

301 thoughts on “Ocean Infinity Further Expands MH370 Search Area”

  1. @Jeff, All,

    most have alternately accused the Malaysian Government of being incompetent and intentionally misleading.

    Does their interest in continuing the search suggest more of the former or latter to you? Or are they for some reason at the mercy of outside interests who are pushing them to continue the search–they have, after all, called things off before.

  2. @Scott O, I think it’s pretty clear that the Malaysian Government is just passing along information that Ocean Infinity is giving it. Their agreement gives OI essentially carte blanche to look wherever it wants. So I don’t think they get either blame or credit for anything going on here. The real question is what the motivation for OI is. Any reasonable person would have to recognize that the further north they go, the lower their odds of success become. At this point, do they care? Did they ever care?

  3. Reflecting further on my last post, a plausible explanation for the observed timing error is that, when hand-copying the data from the original, the column of Time data was shifted 3 or 4 places upwards relative to the other data. That would also explain that the echo was lost at a slant Range of 11.2 NM and reappeared at Range 15.8 NM. Apparently a few lines of data were ‘lost in translation’.

    Just waiting for the scientists to figure that out.

  4. There are two points that I think did not get attention and that I want to share with you.

    1. Plane flew in the direction which is closer to SSE than to SSW.

    After the SC crossed the 96.5E we are pretty confident that the plane is not west of this longitude and therefore it had to fly east of 180S. This is actually more intuitive considering that arcs extend to the east instead to the west.

    2. After extension SC is searching the area recommended by Inmarsat back in 2014.

    Calculations and understanding of pings flight dynamics advanced in the meantime, but practically we are back to the area which was originally proposed by Inmarsat.

  5. @Marijan
    (1) Please elaborate…and who is “we”
    (2) When in 2014? Inmarsat’s final proposed path was around 35S, more or less a 180S path, now more or less ruled out. My understanding Inmarsat’s earliest numbers were off due to some calculation short-comings at first pass.

  6. The chart below shows the groundspeeds I calculated from the Kota Bharu radar data. The square symbols show the average speeds calculated over an interval that contains five consecutive intervals in the table. The five points above 550 kts include the ‘cone-of-silence’ interval of 132 seconds, which I believe to be in error.

    The blue line was derived as follows. The distance was calculated for each interval, and the cumulative distance plotted against time. The blue line shows the first derivatives of polynomial curve fits to the cumulative distance curves before and after the cone of silence.


  7. @Tbill

    1. I will try to explain. This is actully longitude of point where the last radar detection occured, close to MEKAR. Therefore, from that point Consequently, all modeled fly paths crossing Indonesia and heading west of 180S from MEKAR and all other west from there, where FMT potentially occured are now ruled out. Therefore plane was heading approximately SSE from the point where FMT occured (if there was any). This is actually not so significant, except it coincedes with the direction in which the last 5 arcs were “moving” in the SIO – west to east. For me, with rather simplistic thinking, this is more intuitive (no matter what probability theory says) – plane flew in the general direction of the arcs which increases my confidence that now SC on the right track to find the plane.

    2. I was referring to priority search areas from June, which was the expanded in October 2014. My understanding is that there was a lack of understanding of BFO-s and BTO-s. However, area that is being searched at present moment is approximately the same one recommended back then.

  8. @Marijan
    OK thank you. It’s hard to say what flight direction the arcs are pointing to, which is part of the problem.

  9. “News.com.au noted, referring to a theory put forward by Victor Iannello that the plane’s captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, had hijacked his own plane and set its navigation system for Antarctica”

    If Captain Z is the culprit then why is the Lido graphic a fake?

  10. @SteveBarrat:
    Persons “close to the investigation” rarely know anything of real substance.

    I suspect Victor’s source doesn’t really know if the LIDO image was a fake, he just doesn’t trust the military who produced it. When questioned about the timing, he “shrugged his shoulders” ???

    Given what has been published officially in Factual Information and elsewhere about civil and military radar data, what is the particular importance of the LIDO image anyway?

  11. @SteveBarratt, Echoing what @Gysbreght said, there seems to be some confusion as to the significance of the Lido image. This refers to a photo taken of a slide shown to a meeting of next-of-kin soon after the disappearance. It appears to show raw primary radar data of a flight up the Malacca Strait. The authorities have never endorsed its validity. Why it was shown, or what it actually represents, has never been explained.

    The public has never seen the actual primary radar data recorded between 17:21 and 18:22. However, it has been described numerous times in official reports, in generally consistent ways. (The nature of the radar return at 18:22 is a little unclear; it’s been described variously as being a single blip and as the dropping off of an ongoing signal.)

    The take-home: It’s important not to confuse doubts about the legitimacy of the Lido image with the legitimacy of the primary radar data. The former is dubious; the latter is not (though some have tried to portray it as such).

  12. @Jeff: were you ever passed a copy of an IG member’s fuel model? If so, would you be so kind as to pass it on to me? Huge thanks in advance. (Apologies if you have already done so, and I’ve missed it.)

  13. This may have already been discussed (I am sure it has, as everything has seemingly been debated ad nauseam), but if the plane crashed into the ocean with an expected violence (not a glide or an attempted landing on the surface), how big of an area are we talking about regarding the debris field? I would think it would be quite sizable, and parts would be strewn about all over the area in which they are searching. In other words, if they are in the general area where the crash occurred, considering that debris potentially floated all the way across the Indian Ocean, wouldn’t they have easily found something by now?

  14. @Dan

    Perhaps you could convert your diagram into an animated gif file.

    Each block of text could blink in sync with the associated arrow, arc or line.

    That way we could get the full retro nineties nonsense experience.

  15. @Jeff: thanks much for replying.

    You misunderstand. I wish to sensitivity-test the model so I can know whether – and if so, precisely why – the intersection of the performance limit and Arc 7 was badly estimated for nearly four years. I think that’s a relevant line of inquiry, with the potential to help differentiate among theories still on the table.

    Re: wasting your time: I’d hoped the forwarding of an email was all I was asking you for. Why is it more involved than that?

    Thanks again for your patience and consideration.

  16. @Jeff: in the spirit of spending time on each others’ pet topics: I am interested in the details of your bet with Mike. If the OI search does come up empty, he is going to admit you were right…about what, specifically? Spoofed BFOs? Keen to see the actual text of the bet.

  17. @Brock, I would like Mike, once the OI search past 29 degrees south is completed, to admit that the IG’s analysis was wrong and that I was right. (You may recall that I was kicked out of the IG in January 2015 for proposing that MH370 wouldn’t be found in the SIO; at the time the IG’s position was that they had effectively solved the mystery.)
    What I really want is for the IG and the ATSB to acknowledge that they cannot vouch for the provenance of the Inmarsat data, due to the presumed human intervention/tampering/whatever you want to call it with the SDU from which it all came.

    On to topic #2. You say you want to “sensitivity-test the model.” I don’t know exactly what you mean by this but I can cut to the chase for you: the model was wrong. Whatever model you care to choose, if it was correct, than the plane would have been found my now. The plane was not found, ergo all of the flight-into-the-SIO hypotheses are wrong.

    The plane is not in the southern Indian Ocean. Everyone can put down their pens and slide-rulers now.

  18. I agree with @Jeff Wise that “The plane is not in the southern Indian Ocean.” especially anyone “cannot vouch for the provenance of the Inmarsat data”.

  19. @Brock McEwen
    You can go to Dr. Bobby Ulich twitter page via Google and get his 7-March-2018 flight path report. In the report is a link to all of DrB’s work including his latest MH370 fuel model, which as far as I know is the best available fuel model tool for MH370 independent investigators right now.

  20. @Dan Richter,

    I won’t snark like @flatpack, but I do find it curious that the map in the graphic you point to appears to be in Czech. It’s well known that Prague is the seat of Russia’s European spy network and home to more than just a few Russian hackers-recall the extradition to the United States of Yevgeniy Nikulin, who is currently negotiating a plea deal in federal court.

    Prague has 140 Russian diplomats–twice as many as there are U.S. diplomats. Curious until you realize it’s position in the heart of Europe, its status as a former client state, it’s equidistance between Moscow and London, where as I recall Inmarsat is located.

  21. @Scott O
    I’ve found it curious that according to Alexa, one third of ALL visitors to jeffwise.net came from the Czech republic.
    Now I think I understand why this is the case!
    Plus, it’s also possible internet traffic from other places are being routed through servers located in the Czech republic.

  22. @ATG
    What is more interesting is why no single item identifiably associated with any passenger or crew member has ever been recovered. Think of the thousands of personal items that float – and apparently didn’t.

  23. @Scott O.

    I can assure that I am common citizen wishing to help to explain what may have happened to MH370. It has nothing to do with the geographical location of the thread. Note I am frequent visitor of USA, Canada and Alaska and know more cities and national parks well than you. The people are great. I arrived to New York on September 10, 2001 to visit WTC next day…

  24. @Gysbreght & @Jeff Wise

    Thank you for your comments. I’m not questioning the authenticity of the primary radar. Rather if Captain Z is the culprit then why the fog, confusion and multiple narratives since the disappearance of 9M-MRO. Surely the MAG would want to find the plane.

    Also I agree with your point of view that 9M-MRO is not in the SIO.

  25. @Gysbreght said (previous topic);
    “reconstructing the time stamps shows that they have been truncated, not rounded.”
    I don’t have a firm view on that, but I note that there exists a factoid that
    supports your assertion – from the FI:
    “appeared at 17:38:56″<-so this time in the FI was possibly rounded up from 17:38:55:nn ,
    in the ALSM provided radar data, we see the applicable timestamps are given as;


    Incidently, another matter, why MH370 flying by KB, either actioned an ascent &
    descent OR turned right and then left – like most, I consider it was the latter.
    My reasoning is unique however: that, in MH370 with no functioning comms & no
    TCAS, and with MH370 closing on an area where mutiple airways intersect, the
    pilot(s) chose to fly slightly right so as to cross each of those airways at a
    more perpendicular angle, thereby maximizing the liklihood that any other closing
    aircraft could be seen from the MH370 flightdeck. (Note; other aircraft could be
    closing from the right or the left along those airways). If MH370 had not been
    ‘slightly right and slightly left’ (that is, in a shallow arc heading
    slightly more northwards and eventually finishing the arc heading slightly more
    southwards as it cut perpendicularly across the last or those airways to the
    north of KB), then what would have instead occurred is that MH370 would have
    crossed several of the first airways it encountered, at an angle that would have
    placed a closing aircraft from the northwards coming (unseen) at MH370 towards
    its right rear quarter.
    There are other supporting reasons that follow from this line of reasoning, but
    perhaps it is sufficient to merely assert that the pilot(s) were following a
    prudent course of action
    – increasing the probability that they would not be
    blindsided in the case of a closely approaching other aircraft (of course, we
    know that it occurred that MH370 did not have any encounter with any other
    closely approaching aircraft).

  26. @Jeff: thanks much for clarifying.

    Topic 1: I don’t expect the result of the OI search to change many minds. If nothing is found, those who deem the ISAT data sacrosanct will stretch their models until a new unsearched part of the Arc is indicated. If sunken debris is found, those who deem the ISAT data suspect will fit it into their various theories in much the same way you fit the floating debris into yours. The only way to change minds, in my view, is by continuing to pound the pavement on the hard science; e.g…..

    Topic 2: of all current and former IG members, you should be the only one who would think the fuel model may have been RIGHT all along, because you would not see an empty deep sea search as condemning its indications. Everyone in the “ISAT data is Gospel” camp would ASSUME their fuel model was wrong whenever the debris record invalidated its indicated search box. You, by contrast, are open to the possibility that assumptions OTHER than fuel/performance were to blame. Can you please let me try to help discover which is closer to the truth?

  27. @buyerninety: I stick to the altitudes (geometric heights) stated in Factual Information: 35700 ft until 17:35, 32000 ft after 17:36, linear ramp between those two.

  28. @Brock, Just to clarify, you are a high-level troll whose mission is to cast into doubt the entire MH370 dataset in order to promote a baseless and specifically anti-American scenario. As they say in Russia, “Nothing is true and everything is possible.” I’m not saying that you are working for the Kremlin, but your methods and objectives are the same as someone who would be. That’s why you were banned before, and why I’m banning you again.

    @Dan Richter, Like Brock, you are attempting to promote a scenario for which there is absolutely no evidence. Even more suspiciously, you are doing so from Eastern Europe. I don’t think there’s enough evidence to label you a Kremlin troll, but your methods and objects do overlap.

  29. OI has published Weekly Report #12 itself at https://oceaninfinity.com/wp-content/uploads/MH370-Search-Weekly-Report-12.pdf

    It is interesting to note that this report, continues to assert that:-
    “Currently OI is utilizing their vessel Seabed Constructor to survey the search area accompanied by a support vessel, MV Maersk Mariner.”

    In point of fact, MV Maersk Mariner ( IMO 9761047 MMSI 219818000 ) has not been anywhere near Seabed Constructor since near the end of the first swing.
    MV Maersk Mariner is, and has been for some weeks, up on the North West Shelf, assisting the oil rig, DEVELOPMENT DRILLER 1 (IMO 8765503 MMSI 538007686 ) at Lat -18.7188 Long 118.7261), which about 100 nm north of Port Headland.
    In other words, MV Maersk Mariner is over 1,300 nautical miles away from Seabed Constructor.

    Being “accompanied” at 1,300 nm is, a bit of a stretch.

  30. @buyerninety: RE truncating vs rounding –
    Based on the first timestamp, the rotational speed of the radar beam, and the change of azimuth, I get:

    Corrected – Original
    Time —— Time (UTC)
    30:33,3 — 30:33,3
    30:37,1 — 30:37,0
    30:41,0 — 30:40,0
    30:44,8 — 30:44,0
    30:48,6 — 30:48,0
    30:52,5 — 30:52,0
    30:56,3 — 30:56,0
    31:00,1 — 31:00,0

  31. @Gysbreght
    I didn’t further explain my assertion in my previous post, but if you think
    carefully about it, your quote of the 35700 figure is not necessarily in
    disagreement with my assertion.

    If MH370 was flying offset 500 feet above or below the usual altitude levels
    (an anti-collision procedure), then that ‘35700’ is believeable as being
    representative of what altitude MH370 was at, or was attempting to be
    manually flown at (say, 35500 ft), allowing for the possibilty of
    some measurement inaccuracy on the part of the KB ground radar and/or some
    minor barometric inaccuracy on the part of MH370 (either due to failure to
    accurately correct for current ISA deviation and/or the possiblity of
    contributing electical problems on MH370).

    (What do we know? flightorg: “In warmer than ISA conditions, the altimetry
    system under-reads. When the aircraft is flown by reference to a barometric
    source (whether driven by the pilot/autopilot using the altimeter or the FMC
    using a barometric reference) the aircraft is invariably actually higher
    than indicated on the altimeter”.)

    Gysbreght said;
    …”in Factual Information: 35700 ft until 17:35, 32000 ft after 17:36,
    linear ramp between those two.”

    Careful Gysbreght – where in the FI is this 32000 figure mentioned, and
    where is it stated there was a linear ramp to it??

    I only see that the FI states that:
    At 1736 UTC”…”to 1736:40 UTC”…”height fluctuation between 31,100 and
    33,000 ft.”
    “At 1739:59 UTC”…”height at 32,800 ft.

    So a linear ramp is not clearly indicated (but my personal view is at
    some point after KB, the pilot(s) had started to action a descent, which
    was interupted by the autopilot being activated as the pilot(s) realized
    unconciousness was imminent).

    On that matter of ‘truncated’ or ’rounded’, I feel I should note that there
    are also factoids in the FI which tend to support the ’rounded’ theory,
    but not the ‘truncated’ theory.

    For instance; (leftmost times are the ‘ALSM provided radar data timepoints’)
    17:30:37.00 – FI- Figure 1.1F “17:30:37:02”

    17:34:45.00 – ‘FI- Figure 1.1E “17:34:44:79” (PLOT Point)’

    (No radar data point??) – FI- Figure 1.1F “17:38:56:90”

    17:40:00.00 – FI- page 3, “17:39:59″(:–??) Mil radar, @ 32800 244mag (FI 529kt)

    17:41:01.00 – ‘FI- Figure 1.1E “17:41:00:82” (:nn??:82) (PLOT Point)’

    17:43:07.00 – ‘FI- Figure 1.1E “17:43:06:nn” (:83??) (PLOT Point)’

    17:47:02:00 – ‘FI- Figure 1.1F “17:47:01:62”

    (No radar data point??) – FI- Figure 1.1F “17:51:44:38” (:3n?)

    (The closeness of the 17:40:00.00 and 17:41:01.00 ALSM radar data timepoints
    seen above make me wonder if that ‘ALSM radar data’ additionally had the set
    of ‘radar data plot points’ (refer FI, figure 1.1E) included in it.
    Plot Points are generated from electronic predictions of the {targets} course –
    depending on the accuracy of the prediction, Plot Points are as accurate, or
    less accurate, than actual radar points.)

  32. EDIT to above post;
    “some point after KB, the pilot(s) had manually started to action a descent, which”

  33. @Jeff Wise

    Most of the Li-Ion batteries airplane crashes occurred within first 60 minutes of the flight (65 minutes – Asiana Airlines Flight 991; 49 minutes – UPS Airlines Flight 6, 39 minutes – MH370). We have eyewitness of burning plane Mike McKay, South China Sea area he mentioned was never searched. Cathay Pacific Airways that pilots of CX725 while en-route from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur had sighted ‘large solid debris’ over the surface of the sea at position 09.54.3N 107.25.0E within Ho Chi Minh Flight Information Region. A vessel in the area confirmed material was floating in the ocean about 92 kilometers off the southeasterncoast of Vietnam in the South China Sea. The debris is located about 520 kilometers northeast of a missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370’s last known radar position. Jeff Wise (about Indonesian Radar): “So how could the Indonesians have seen nothing?” The ocean currents confirm that debris could travel to position mentioned by the Cathay Pacific Airways pilots and to Reunion Island (flaperon) through Sunda Strait. The ATSB and Malaysia are not willing to fly Boeing 777 supposed route (at least around Malaysia and Sumatra) to verify civil and military radar tracking. The MH370 was not found in South Indian Ocean because it is not there.

  34. EDIT to above post:
    DELETE; “The closeness of the 17:40:00.00 and 17:41:01.00 ALSM radar data timepoints
    seen above make me wonder if”
    SUBSTITUTE; “I wonder if”

    Obviously, those timepoints are not ‘close’ – they are a whole second apart,
    with plenty of hundredths of seconds between them!
    Time for sleep.

  35. @buyerninety: I noted earlier that the time across the gap near Kota Bharu is in error. About four radar revolutions (15.35 seconds) need to be inserted to produce a speed that matches the speeds at entry and exit of the ‘cone of silence’. So either the time stamps before or those after the gap need to be shifted by about 15 seconds.


  36. @Dan Richter, That is so ridiculous that I have to assume you are a bot or Kremlin troll. In future all your comments will be moderated, which means I have to hand-approve them before they appear.

  37. Just a tip for the ‘scientists’: If you determine the radar beam rotational speed for the points before the gap (don’t forget to account for the azimuth change), and again for the points after the gap, you’ll find that it is not 3.8145 seconds per revolution, but 3,8381 seconds per revolution.

  38. On the other blog airlandseaman says April 15, 2018 at 10:37 am:

    “As anyone familiar with the analysis of data like this will know, data QC is important. We do not rely on every value. We rely on patterns.”

    Well said. Easier said than done. Sorry, just couldn’t resist.

  39. Ventus45 posted today regarding OI published Weekly Report #12

    “It is interesting to note that this report, continues to assert that”

    “Currently OI is utilizing their vessel Seabed Constructor to survey the search area accompanied by a support vessel, MV Maersk Mariner.”

    survey the search area accompanied by a support vessel, MV Maersk Mariner.”

    “In point of fact, MV Maersk Mariner ( IMO 9761047 MMSI 219818000 ) has not been anywhere near Seabed Constructor since near the end of the first swing.”

    This is classic MH370. Following suit is the lack of reaction, ignoring this information as insignificant.

    Years of chasing the data unicorn have fried too many brillant minds. It has become a nonsensical battle of wit with weapons only of opinion now.

    The gravity of information is only as valuable as the ego of the individual processing it. The foolishness has become an embarrassment.

  40. Disregard the duplication

    survey the search area accompanied by a support vessel, MV Maersk Mariner.”

  41. @Susie Crowe, @Gysbreght, There’s been a fair bit of discussion lately about primary radar data and what speed/altitude the plane was flying during the turnback over the Malay peninsula and up the Malacca Strait. Can anyone shed any light on what possible relevance this could have for finding the plane at this point? No matter how it was flown, no matter how much fuel it burned, there is no plausible flight path that ends up in an area of the southern Indian Ocean that hasn’t already been searched.

    The game is over. It’s almost like some people feel that if they just keep talking about something, anything, they won’t have to come to terms with that reality.

  42. The know when to hold them, no when to fold them moment is history, the alternative being hold on tight to what you have. I am pissed this is the residual of undertaking MH370 for the greater good, the mouse wheel was long ago overcrowded and tiresome. Evaluation of MH370 never required only genius but that stampede virtually eliminated all other logic.

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