|The Seabed Constructor Photo by © Alf Kåre Aasebø|
The hope of the entire world is for the Seabed Constructor to find the missing aircraft and to put to bed the biggest airplane mystery in the history of mankind.
And for this purpose, the Bergen-headquartered Swire Seabed’s subsea vessel Seabed Constructor has set itself on course from Durban, South Africa for a month’s journey in the Indian Ocean.
The purpose of the voyage is to track the wreckage of MH370, the missing plane that has gripped the world’s attention since 2014.
The vessel will explore a 25,000 sq km before heading to Perth on February 7. It is said it will reach the search area on January 17.
Ocean Infinity, the American firm that has engaged the Seabed Constructor, won a contract from the Malaysian government to attempt one more time to find the missing craft.
The Boeing 777 went missing in March 2014 with 239 people on board.
The report on the aircraft search said the ship will deploy a system that uses eight HUGIN autonomous underwater vehicles capable of operating at depths of up to 6 km to collect high-resolution data.
The vessel, deemed fantastical due to its weird shape and superstructure, is a Norwegian research vessel, built in 2014.
It is owned by Swire Seabed, a dredging and surveying firm in Bergen, and is leased to the American firm Ocean Infinity which is on an impossible mission: finding MH370!
But as you can see, the route of the ship would likely be similar to the one in the map.
The vessel does not plan any stops to Mauritius or within the waters of Mauritius on its path to the search zone, which is further ahead.
The Economist said Ocean Infinity aims to cover the ground much faster than other search vessels.
The new search area, 25,000 square kilometres of sea floor chosen by investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), is just north of the old one.
The ATSB in August last year released a report that it said pinpointed the right location of the aircraft and it is supposed that the current search will be within these locations.
According to the Economist (read article here), the Seabed Constructor will reach the starting-point of the search, about 35°S off the coast of Western Australia, on or about January 17th.
By then, her crew would have conducted a few final tests and calibrations of the HUGIN system en route, using remote-controlled robots to place dummy debris on the sea floor in order to see if the subs can find it.
If searching the patch of ocean designated by the ATSB reveals nothing, then the ship will head further north, towards the 30th parallel, which some independent experts believe is a better bet, it said.
The HUGINs carried by Seabed Constructor can, however, go as deep as 6,000 metres. That permits them to reach most of the sea floor comfortably. And the fact that there are eight of them means different areas can be searched in parallel, and that some submarines will always be at sea.
The HUGINs will be launched by the stinger, which extends out over the ship’s stern. Once underwater, the robot craft will communicate with the ship using an acoustic modem. The ship’s own modem, which will receive these signals, is fixed to the end of a long pole that extends down through her hull into the water.