Our AUV crew aboard the Coast Guard vessel KN Trisula is still well out to sea with only periodic communication. Rizal Shah from Java Offshore sent us a report after a brief conversation with his Chief Operating Officer, Bachir Ouzani, who is part of the AUV team aboard the Trisula.
Rizal himself just flew from Jakarta to Pangkalan Bun yesterday. “Weather out here isn’t the best at this time of the year and now I know why weather has been an issue for the search”, Rizah reports.
Meanwhile, the AUV team on the KN Trisula cutter performed AUV ops last night. Vehicle surveys were aborted mid-mission at least once due to heavy vessel traffic in the area. This matches what Gavia engineering was seeing back in Iceland via Iridium from the vehicle yesterday afternoon. The area was described as "crawling with naval and coast guard vessels involved in the search". Ultimately, the AUV was ordered out of the area due to high vessel traffic and other assets being employed in that search area.
The Coast Guard cutter, KN Trisula, containing the AUV team has been move slightly to the north to conduct AUV operations. At this point the restriction on daylight ops is removed and the AUV should be utilized as weather permits. Weather in the area is still described as being rough. They will likely launch the AUV today to help search for other parts of the aircraft. All is good thus far, except for Trisula's inability to communicate.
The Java Imperia (Java Offshore’s vessel), however, is around 10 hours out and once they are on station we will have communication again. The Java Imperia has the acoustic pinger locator sent by Teledyne Benthos from the United States. The plan is to proceed directly to Trisula’s location in order to help with the search in that area. The team will deploy the acoustic locator at the site to see if we can get any signals (although it is expected that the flight recorder is at the tail).
Once Java Imperia is at site, we should get more regular updates as we have VSAT onboard and will be able to communicate with them directly.