Neither of the two vessels involved in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 were actually sweeping the Indian Ocean for debris Wednesday. An operational update issued by the Australian Transport and Safety Bureau, the office overseeing the hunt, revealed that the Fugro Equator and the Dong Hai Jiu 101 were both near the port city of Fremantle this week.
The Fugro Equator was undergoing scheduled maintenance, while the Dong Hai Jiu was conducting trials and waiting for the weather to improve. But the bureau was quick to reassure readers this wasn't cause for alarm.
"The methods and process by which the search is being conducted continue unchanged," the update read. "Different conditions — both under and above the water — call for different approaches. This fact has always been acknowledged and allowed for in the planning of the search."
The bureau also addressed recent rumors that investigators may have missed some debris from MH370, a Boeing 777 that vanished in March 2014 with 239 people on board. "Our efforts to date have been careful and comprehensive, and we have no reason to think the MH370 wreckage could have been overlooked," it added.
The update coincided with a report that the plane's pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, had planned to retire in Australia, where his daughter lives. Shah's motives have come under new scrutiny in recent months amid allegations that he may have crashed the plane in a suicide mission.
But in an interview with the Australian, Shah's brother-in-law Asuad Khan Mustafa said the pilot was planning for the future. "He wanted to migrate to Australia. He even asked his daughter to buy a house there and gave her money to do it," Mustafa said. "The moment he disappeared, that plan ended."
The search for MH370 wreckage is wrapping up and is expected to be completed by December.