Malaysia approves new seek for Flight MH370 wreckage

Marie Harrington
January 13, 2018

A USA -based company that recently embarked on a new search mission for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 could earn up to $70 million if the crucial wreckage is found within three months, Malaysian officials said Wednesday.

The aircraft disappeared in March 2014 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people onboard.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said today that while Ocean Infinity's deal is based on a "no cure, no fee" basis, a payment of up to US$70 million (RM285 million) will be made if the USA firm is able to locate the debris field of the missing jumbo jet or the aircraft's black box within 90 days from the launch of the search starting mid-January.

Search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which vanished from radar screens in March 2014, will begin anew this month, Malaysian newspaper The Star reported Wednesday. Floating debris has been found far from where MH370 is thought to have crashed, but no sign of the main debris field has been found.

Ocean Infinity can use up to eight Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), capable of operating in water depths from 5 meters to 6,000 meters.

Its fate remains shrouded in mystery and the search operation was suspended in January past year.

"We can finish the first 25,000 square kilometres in three to four weeks".

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The last search, which took more than two years to cover 120,000 sq km, had cost the Malaysian government US$116 million.

The search is likely to last for 90 days, and Ocean Infinity says it is due to "commence imminently".

The search is expected to be completed within 90 days, he told a news conference. While smaller pieces confirmed to have come from the flight including a wing flap were found off the coast in Tanzania.

If the wreckage is found, the company stands to earn at least $20 million, and potentially up to $70 million, depending on the scale of the search, according to the New York Times. The company will conduct search operation in a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean west of Australia.

"The payment is to be fully made by the Malaysian government". Ocean Infinity's ship is equipped with eight unmanned submarines that scan the ocean floor at depths of almost 20,000 feet.

In 2016, Pattiaratchi modelled the possible path of debris based on ocean currents and predictions of where it is believed the plane went down. But this does not solve the still perplexing issue of what chain of events brought about the disappearance of flight MH370.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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