Another week, another MH370 update without a breakthrough.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre, the group of investigators that's spent the past two years searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, issued its regular operational search update Wednesday — but the hunt has still gone about like it has for the past month.
The Fugro Equator, one of the (now) two vessels scanning the floor of the Indian Ocean for debris from the Boeing 777, was in the search region but couldn't use its deep tow equipment because of sea conditions. The Dong Hai Jiu 101 was stuck in port in Fremantle, Australia. Given that "projected weather conditions for the next several weeks preclude the effective deployment of search equipment from this vessel," it'll stay there until the forecast improves.
The Fugro Discovery pulled out of the hunt last week to start a new mission in Singapore.
However, things may be looking up. "Weather conditions are forecast to be poor over the coming days, but improving towards the end of the week," the operational update read.
Investigators have combed about 110,000 square kilometers of a designated 120,000-square-kilometer area so far in their search for the plane, which vanished in March 2014 with 239 people on board. Last month, authorities from Australia, Malaysia and China decided that — without new evidence — they would not continue the hunt once the region has been swept.
"Ministers went to great lengths to explain that this does not mean the termination of the search," the center wrote. "Should credible new information emerge that can be used to identify the specific location of the aircraft, consideration will be given to determining next steps."
This choice has been the subject of much controversy in recent weeks as various aviation experts have come forward and suggested the condition of the MH370 flaperon wing part found last year meant the plane was being piloted when it crashed into the ocean.
This theory has been giving family members of victims and advocates ammunition to criticize the upcoming suspension of the search.
"The idea that they are not going to search for the airplane to finality is a serious precedent in all aviation," David Booth, the president of the Australian Federation of Air Pilots, told the Australian recently. "This is critical to me as an aviator … the airplane’s missing, we need to find the airplane."