Fourth ship to join search for MH370

2015-01-12 14:10
(, AP)

(, AP)

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Canberra - A fourth ship with specialised underwater equipment will join the search for a Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, 10 months after it vanished under mysterious circumstances off the west coast of Australia, an official said on Monday.

The ship Fugro Supporter was on its way to the search area after conducting trials off the Indonesian island of Bali, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said in a statement.

"Fugro Supporter has been equipped with a Kongsberg Hugin 4 500 autonomous underwater vehicle," the statement said. "The AUV will be used to scan those portions of the search area that cannot be searched effectively by the equipment on other vessels."

Not a single trace of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been found since the Boeing 777 vanished with 239 people aboard on 8 March last year during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The jetliner disappeared after veering off course and flying for hours with its communications systems disabled.

Three ships - two provided by a Dutch contractor and one from Malaysia - have already been tasked with scouring a desolate, 60 000km2 area of the Indian Ocean about 1 800km west of Australia.

Since a renewed search began in October, the ships have searched more than 12 000km2 of the seafloor - or one-fifth of the highest-priority search zone.

Government officials could not immediately say whether the additional ship would hasten the search, which was expected to end around May if nothing was found earlier.

The Fugro Supporter is jointly funded by the Australian and Malaysian governments. It is expected to join the search in late January, Truss said.

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