The head of Malaysia’s MH370 Response Team confirmed in a statement that officials are still in negotiations with an American seabed intelligence firm to restart the search for MH370 but no agreements have been reached.
An October 20 statement by Sri Abdul Rahman, Director General of Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation, says the government “has yet to arrive into an agreement with Ocean Infinity for the search of MH370 as widely reported in the media recently.”
“Once the negotiation is completed and the terms and conditions have been agreed with Ocean Infinity, the Malaysian government will then seek agreement from the governments of Australia and China to proceed with the search.”
A statement released from Australia’s Minister of Infrastructure and Transport a day earlier contradicted Rahman, saying the Malaysian Government had accepted the offer from 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,” Minister Darren Chester said.
“Australia, at Malaysia’s request, will provide technical assistance to the Malaysian Government and Ocean Infinity,” he added.
An email from an Ocean Infinity spokesman on October 16 to MH370Latest said “progress (was) being made” on search negotiations “and as and when we’re able to do so we hope to be able to confirm the contract award.”
The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in March 2014 led to the largest search in aviation history with over 120,000 square kilometres searched but despite that, crews were unable to locate the remains of the aircraft—a Boeing 777—or any of the passengers and crew. The search was also the most expensive with a total cost to Australia of $154M USD.
In their final report released on October 3, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said analysis of satellite data and new images “identifies an area of less than 25,000 square kilometres which has the highest likelihood of containing MH370.” “The understanding of where MH370 may be located is better now than it has ever been,” the report added.
Debris discovered in 2015 and 2016 led to a new clue which led investigators to conclude that the aircraft was not configured for ditching, or water landing, prior to the end of flight. “The debris yielded significant new insights into how and where the aircraft ended its flight. It was established from the debris that the aircraft was not configured for a ditching at the end-of-flight.”
The almost four-year search was suspended in January, much to the disappointment of family members. The news of a renewed search has brought hope and happiness to some while Australia called the incident “inconceivable” and “unacceptable” in their final report on the disappearance.
“It is almost inconceivable and certainly societally unacceptable in the modern aviation era with 10 million passengers boarding commercial aircraft every day, for a large commercial aircraft to be missing and for the world not to know with certainty what became of the aircraft and those on board.”