After I posted the first part of this discussion, I was gratified to see it had been mentioned in the Poll Bludger Blog.
Then I read the comment and was a little miffed.
“ I think this is the usual blogging overreach. Australia starting searching the so called southern corridor before the info from the satellite came to the fore. It appears aircraft were assigned to the search of the Southern Ocean on the 17th and started the search on the 18th. HMAS Success & merchant vessels were added to the search by the 19th. This info is available on the AMSA website. The announcement re the satellite photos of possible debris was not the start of the search but was a change to the main search area. Abbotts speech might certainly have been grandstanding but not think significant to the conduct of the search.”
Not only had the commentor (kevjohnno) denigrated bloggers as “Overreaching”, a cry I normally hear from the under-reaching MSM defending its patch but he also completely disregarded what was said in the post.
So please allow me to explain my reasoning step by step and I apologise in advance for excessive wordage.
Yes, aircraft were assigned to the search on 17 Mar and that was recorded in Release No 1 (All times will be Eastern Daylight Savings Time)
Then on the 18th, as kevjohnno stated, the search actually began and all the assets in use were detailed.
Not a single sea asset mentioned yet. The search area is “about” 1500nm sw of Perth. That is around 2800km sw of Perth
Yes, Kevjonno, the search did begin on the 17th but that was not the point of my post. Hang around, things may become clearer.
Here we are at 6.30am on 19th and we are told that some sea-going vessels are now being involved. The search area is 600,000 sq Km more than 3,000Km SW of Perth.
It is now 5pm on the 19th and for no apparent reason the search area has been reduced to 305,000sq Km and moved closer to Perth. This is despite the comment that “Neither the ships or the aircraft have reported sighting anything in connection to the aircraft.” Additional ships are mentioned and there is still no Naval involvement, or even the possiblity of naval involvement. Look at the language in the release. “A further ship is expected to arrive on Thursday afternoon.” This was released on Wednesday.
This is despite the fact that HMAS Success is within an hour of leaving Fremantle. Planning MUST have been in train for some hours at least yet it is not mentioned.
Two facts to consider, kevjonno –
- Search area reduced and moved closer to Perth
- No mention of HMAS Success
Suddenly we are at 6.30am Thursday morning. Now we come to the unexplained part of the events. There is no mention of size of search area or its location. There is mention of merchant vessels but no mention of HMAS Success. It is now 12 hours since she set sail.
To digress for just a moment, many will remember that a Pommy chap named Bullimore was trapped under his yacht in this general area (100E 52S) some years ago. Australia sent a frigate to rescue him. A frigate travels at around 28Kts. HMAS Success is an oiler and travels at around 17Kts. This is a sign of how far our naval resources have dropped.
Now, at 3.30 pm on Thursday, an hour after the Prime Minister has reported to Parliament that there is satellite evidence of debris, the area is “redefined” to 2500Km south west of Perth. This miniscule redifinition is from the 2,600Km south west of Perth announced on Wednesday at 5pm! HMAS Success is mentioned at last, 22 hours into its voyage. The mention gives the impression that the despatch of this vessel was recent and urgent although no details are given.
“RCC Australia received an expert assessment of commercial satellite imagery on Thursday.”
Yet action on the information in that “Expert Assessment” appeared to be being acted upon some 24 hours before with the dispatch of HMAS Success.
This is apparently where I, as a blogger, “over-reached.” I took the facts we are all now aware of and reached a conclusion. One which you, kevjonno, disagree with while making some basic errors about the order of events.
Somehow some echoes of disquiet within the wider community must have been heard within AMSA because they felt it necessary to add to the details about the time of receipt of the satellite imagery.
“This followed the receipt of satellite data imagery from the Australian Geospatial Intelligence Organisation on Thursday morning. The imagery, on analysis by AGO,identified two objects possibly related to the missing aircraft. The images were captured on March 16..Due to the volume of imagery being searched,and the detailed process of analysis that followed , the information was brought to the attention of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority on Thursday morning”
There is no explanation of why HMAS Success left 22 hours before this imagery was received. There is no explanation of why the search area was reduced and moved prior to the apparent receipt of this imagery. Of course, AMSA may be technically correct. They may have received an analysis of the satellite data on Thursday morning. It is equally possible, within the accuracy of that statement, to have received other, unmentioned, analysis at an earlier time.
That is why I asked the question. What did Tony Abbott know and when? Was the satellite information kept under wraps until the PM could announce it at Question Time on Thurday 20th March? Was it a coincidence that the PM was due to receive severe questioning on the Arthur Sinodinos affair during that question time and that it would be advantageous for him to deflect the Press, and the public, to a new shiny thing?
THAT is the question I posed, kevjonno. What interference was there in AMSA’s role?
And if asking that question, after finding and considering the facts, is “over-reaching” I accept that criticism with pride. I would rather over-reach than under-reach as our MSM has increasingly done for the past decade.