Friday, 17 August, 2018

Malaysia to pay US firm up to $70 mln if it finds…

Civil Aviation Malaysia's Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman and Ocean Infinity's CEO Oliver Plunkett exchange documents witnessed by Malaysia's Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai during the MH370 search operations signing ceremony between Malaysia Malaysia to pay US firm up to $70 mln if it finds…
Melinda Barton | 13 January, 2018, 05:58

The hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 will resume as Malaysia signed a deal on Wednesday to pay a United States seabed exploration firm up to $70 million if it finds the missing aircraft within 90 days of embarking on a new search in the southern Indian Ocean. As per Lai, the Malaysian government would pay Ocean Infinity $20 million for a successful search of 5,000 square kilometres, $30 million for 15,000 square kilometres, $50 million for 25,000 square kilometres and $70 million if the remnants of the flight are found beyond the identified area.

Australia, China and Malaysia ended a fruitless A$200 million ($157 million) search of a 120,000 sq km area in January past year, despite investigators urging the search be extended to a 25,000 sq km area further to the north.

"It is my hope that we will find the answers that we've sought for almost four years and bring some closure to this unfortunate incident", Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said.

He said there should not be any official search by the government as the official investigation closure had stated that the "aircraft is missing".

"Ocean Infinity's search will focus initially on the zone identified by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau", the company said.

The disappearance of the Boeing 777 aircraft en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March 2014 with 239 people aboard is considered modern aviation's biggest mystery.

Ocean Infinity Chief Executive Oliver Plunkett said the search vessel Seabed Constuctor, which left the South African port of Durban last week, is expected to reach the southern Indian Ocean by January 17 to begin the hunt.

"The primary mission by Ocean Infinity is to identify the location of the wreckage and/or both of the flight recorders ... and present a considerable and credible evidence to confirm the exact location of the two main items", he told a news conference.

A search mission - that was suspended on January 17, 2017 - unsuccessfully combed an area of 120,000 square kilometres in the Indian Ocean for the remains of the plane.

The company will use its vessel Seabed Constructor for the search.

So far, only three confirmed fragments of MH370 have been found, all of them on the western Indian Ocean shores, including a two-metre wing part known as flaperon. Plunkett said the underwater drones can cover 1,200 square kilometers (463 sq. miles) a day and complete the 25,000 square kilometers within a month.

Ahmad Maulan said findings of the search will have major impacts on the global aviation industry, adding there were many unanswered questions that could have implications on the design, maintenance, operating procedure and practices of airlines and airports.