A massive maritime search operation for the plane cleared 120,000 sq km at an estimated cost of about A$200 million ($157 million), before it was suspended in January.
The company has not revealed the estimated cost of the new search. According to Darren Chester, Ocean Infinity will focus on a 25,000 sq km area identified by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau as having a “high probability” of containing the aircraft.
Ocean Infinity is using a centuries-old model known in the salvage industry as “no cure-no pay” – a type of deal usually applied in the recovery of valuable sunken cargo.
Under such a deal, a salvage company will take on the financial risk of a recovery and recoup from the owner a percentage of the cargo’s value if it is found, often 80 or 90%.
MH370 was carrying passengers and crew from 14 different countries when it disappeared. Most were from China and Malaysia.
Australia led the initial search, after aviation officials identified the ocean floor off its coast as the likely location of the wreckage. The country has agreed to provide technical assistance for the new search, Darren Chester said.
Earlier this month, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said the government had received proposals from three private search companies – Ocean Infinity, Dutch firm Fugro and an unidentified Malaysian company.
Delivering its report into the MH370 disappearance earlier this month, Australia’s Transport Safety Bureau said it was “almost inconceivable” that the aircraft had not been found.
The search for the Malaysian flight MH379 that vanished in March 2014 has been suspended after three years.
The families of the victims say the decision is “irresponsible”.
Family support group Voice370 said the search ought to be expanded – it was “an inescapable duty owed to the flying public”.
The plane vanished en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 on board.
More than 46,300 sq miles of the Indian Ocean has been searched with no results. Pieces of debris have been found as far away as Madagascar.
Only seven have been identified as definitely or highly likely to be from the Boeing 777.
There were 14 nationalities among the 227 passengers and 12 crew on board the plane. The majority – 153 people – were Chinese.
Announcing the suspension, Australia, Malaysia and China said “no new information has been discovered to determine the specific location of the aircraft” despite numerous studies.
They remained hopeful this would happen in the future.
However, Voice370 said the search must continue and be extended to include an area of some 25,000 sq km north of the current one, recommended by a report released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau in December 2016.
“Stopping at this stage is nothing short of irresponsible, and betrays a shocking lack of faith in the data, tools and recommendations of an array of official experts assembled by the authorities themselves.”
A report in November 2016 said theM370 flight probably made a “high and increasing rate of descent” into the Indian Ocean.
A piece of debris found on a Mauritian island will be examined to see if it is part of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Australian authorities say.
A hotel owner on the island who saw the debris said it bore a design and looked like it was from the inside of a plane.
If confirmed, it would be the first piece of interior debris from the plane yet to be found.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared in March 2014 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, carrying 239 passengers.
Despite an extensive deep water search, led by Australia, the plane and all its passengers remain missing.
Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester said the debris, found last week, was an “item of interest”.
The debris was discovered by hotel guests on Rodrigues Island, about 350 miles east of the main island of Mauritius.
Last month Australia said debris found in Mozambique was “almost certainly from MH370” and in 2015 French authorities said a wing part found on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion was part of the plane.
The search has focused on the southern Indian Ocean.
More than 95,000 sq km of a 120,000 sq km area has now been examined, with the remainder set to be covered by June, when the search is scheduled to end.
A satellite has identified further 122 objects potentially from the missing flight MH370, Malaysia’s acting transport minister has said.
The images, taken on March 23, showed objects up to 75ft in length, Hishammuddin Hussein said.
All aircraft taking part in Wednesday’s search have now left the area without identifying debris from the plane.
Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board.
The objects were found in satellite images from a 250 sq miles area around 1588 miles from Perth in Western Australia, Hishammuddin Hussein said.
He said that it was not possible to tell whether the potential objects were from the missing aircraft, but called them “another new lead that will help direct the search operation”.
The images were supplied by French-based Airbus Defense and Space and were given to the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency on 25 March, Hishammuddin Hussein said.
The images were passed on to the Australian Rescue and Co-ordination Centre in Perth on Tuesday, he added.
Further 122 objects potentially from the missing Malaysian Airlines plane have been identified by satellite
The latest images are the fourth known collection of satellite pictures showing possible debris in the southern Indian Ocean. No pieces have yet been recovered in the search area, which has now been split into an east and west section.
The transport minister said Malaysia Airlines was “now taking a lead in communicating with the families” and would be conducting its own press conferences.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), co-ordinating the search, said that all aircraft involved had left the area without finding objects from the plane.
It said seven military and five civilian planes had taken part and a total of six countries were now involved – Australia, New Zealand, the US, Japan, China and the South Korea.
The commander of the Chinese search operation, Dong Yan, said his ships were still looking for an object spotted by a plane earlier on Wednesday.
“The focus is on searching for floating objects, oil slicks, floating parts of the external layer of the plane and people that may have fallen into the water,” he told Chinese television.
Australian authorities said on Wednesday that three more objects had earlier been spotted by a civilian aircraft involved in the search.
However, it could not be confirmed whether they were related to the missing aircraft.
The search for debris from the missing plane is taking place in one of the world’s remotest regions.
If debris confirmed to be from the plane is found, the search area will narrow further.
However, experts say the aircraft’s locator beacons, which will help guide ships to the wreckage, now have less than two weeks of battery life remaining.
Malaysian authorities have been urged by China to “step up its efforts” in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet that disappeared on Saturday.
Most of the passengers on board of flight MH370 were Chinese nationals.
Nearly three days after the aircraft went missing, an international effort has still not found the plane’s wreckage.
None of the debris and oil slicks spotted in the water so far have proven to be linked to the disappearance.
Flight MH370 vanished from radar almost three days ago en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, with 239 people on board.
Relatives of the missing passengers have been told to prepare for the worst.
China said the Malaysian authorities needed to “step up their efforts” to find the missing airliner, which had more than 150 Chinese nationals on board.
“We … have a responsibility to demand and urge the Malaysian side to step i[ search efforts, start an investigation as soon as possible and provide relevant information to China correctly and in a timely manner,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang.
Earlier, the Global Times, a prominent Communist Party newspaper, issued a sharply worded editorial arguing there were “loopholes” in the work of Malaysian airlines and security authorities, noting that “until yesterday [Sunday], the Malaysian government could not even ensure accurate information about the [plane’s] passengers”.
The Malaysian authorities are attempting to address Chinese concerns – they have reissued a pledge to fly worried family members to Kuala Lumpur so they can be closer to the search efforts, our correspondent adds.
But one victim’s relative – Guo Qishun, whose son-in-law was on the plane – said he did not see the point of flying to Malaysia.
“We don’t want to go to Malaysia now. There is no result from the search operation yet. If we go to Malaysia, we can do nothing but wait, just like what we are doing in Beijing now. If we go to Malaysia, who can we rely on? Most of us don’t speak English,” he told the Associated Press news agency.
Malaysian authorities have identified one of the two men travelling on the missing plane on stolen passports.
Flight MH370 vanished from radar almost three days ago en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur
Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said they could not reveal his identity, but confirmed the man was a non-Malaysian.
Malaysia’s acting transport minister, Hishamuddin Hussein, said all of the relevant information concerning those two passengers had now been passed on to the various national intelligence agencies which were investigating the matter.
International police agency Interpol has confirmed the passengers were travelling with Italian and Austrian passports stolen in Thailand years ago.
The search area has been widened to include waters in the Strait of Malacca.
Commander William Marks from the US Seventh Fleet, which is taking part in the search, says he expects the plane’s flight recorders to be floating in the water.
“In calm seas, if there were a soccer ball [football] or a basketball floating in the water, the radar could pick it up. They [flight recorders] typically have a radio beacon and so for example our P3 [radar] – if they are flying within a certain range of that – will pick up that radio beacon. We have not yet picked up anything, but that’s typically what those black boxes contain.”
There are now 40 ships and 34 aircraft from nine different nations taking part in the search in the seas off Vietnam and Malaysia.
US Navy officials earlier said their aircraft had not seen any debris associated with commercial aircraft wreckage.
Flight MH370 left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing at 00:41 local time on Saturday. But radio contact was lost at 01:30, somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam.
Officials say they still have no idea what went wrong.
Malaysian military officials said on Sunday they were widening the search area because of indications the plane, a Boeing 777-200ER, may have turned back from its scheduled route shortly before vanishing from radar screens.
Investigators are looking at all angles, including a possible terror attack. Counter-terrorism agencies and the FBI are involved in the operation.
Five passengers booked on the flight did not board, and their luggage was consequently removed.
The passengers on the flight were of 14 different nationalities. Two-thirds were from China, while others were from elsewhere in Asia, North America and Europe.
Malaysia Airlines is the country’s national carrier, flying nearly 37,000 passengers daily to some 80 destinations worldwide.
On Monday, shares in Malaysia Airlines fell 18% to a record low.
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