American seabed intelligence firm Ocean Infinity announced Wednesday that their proposal to continue the search for flight MH370 has been accepted by the government of Malaysia, a statement said. The search will focus on an area identified by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau last year and is expected to last 90 days.
The company confirmed that their vessel, the Seabed Constructor, was close to the search area and is expected to arrive in the area soon “which will enable work to commence imminently.” The company has taken all economic risks involved with a renewed search and said they will only receive payment if wreckage is found.
Ocean Infinity CEO Oliver Plunkett said that while there are no guarantees of finding the missing jetliner, his company was well-suited for the task at hand. “Whilst there can be no guarantees of locating the aircraft, we believe our system of multiple autonomous vehicles working simultaneously is well suited to the task at hand,” he said.
In a statement released by MH370 families, collectively known as Voice 370, members applauded and appreciated the signing of a new contract to renew the search while urging Malaysian authorities to provide regular updates. “In the event that the search by Ocean Infinity is unfruitful, we ask Malaysia to be open to similar ‘no cure, no fee’ search proposals from other parties or initiate a prepaid search if new evidence is found,” the statement reads.
The company said that they can use up to eight Autonomous Underwater Vehicles [AUV] during the search but it was unclear on whether more vessels would be dispatched to the search zone. The AUVs are equipped with high definition cameras, side-scan sonar and temperature/depth sensors. They operate independently, otherwise known as “free flying, untethered to a ship allowing them to go deeper while recording at a higher data capability.
Ocean Infinity had originally submitted a search proposal in August [as reported by MH370Latest] and four months after the first offer, Voice 370 released a statement pleading with Malaysia to accept the win-win offer. “It has been more than four months now since Ocean Infinity first made the offer to carry out the search with a fee payable contingent upon success. We believe this offer should be accepted without further delay.” The search was originally suspended in January much to the surprise of the aviation community and family members.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished into thin air on March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard during a routine flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. Despite the discovery of over 20 pieces of possible debris, the bulk of the aircraft or the passengers and crew that were on board remain missing. Authorities checked and rechecked the backgrounds of the flight crew and passengers but turned up empty.
In an interview with MH370Latest, Captain John Cox said we must find the root cause of the disappearance so we can mitigate further risk in the future. “Until we understand what happened to MH370, we are unable to determine how to mitigate further risk,” he said.