The Malaysian government has accepted an offer from a private company to resume the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester has confirmed.
Chester said the fresh search for the Boeing 777-200ER 9M-MRO that disappeared enroute from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 2014 carrying 239 passengers and crew would be conducted by US-based Ocean Infinity.
“The Malaysian Government has accepted an offer from Ocean Infinity to search for the missing plane, entering into a ‘no find no fee’ arrangement,” Chester said in a statement on Thursday.
“Malaysia’s decision to proceed with the search shows the commitment to find MH370.”
The renewed effort to locate the aircraft comes after a fruitless search of 120,000 square kilometres in the Indian Ocean ended in January 2017.
Since then, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) published two reports prepared by Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO analysing satellite imagery taken some two weeks after the flight went missing.
The imagery, obtained from French authorities, identified 12 objects that were “probably” manmade, as well 28 items that were “possibly” manmade.
The reports, published in August, said the movements of these items during the following three and a bit years due to ocean drift was determined using data from several types of earth-observation satellites, as well as Australia’s most powerful super-computer and more than a decade of government investment in operational ocean modelling.
Chester said the Ocean Infinity search would focus on an area that previously had been identified by experts as the next most likely location to find MH370.
Further, Australia would provide technical assistance to the Malaysian government and Ocean Infinity.
“While I am hopeful of a successful search, I’m conscious of not raising hopes for the loved ones of those on board,” Chester said.
“No new information has been discovered to determine the specific location of the aircraft, however data collected during the previous search will be provided.
“I hope that this new search will bring answers, both for the next of kin and for the rest of the world.”