Malaysian vessel to join deep-water survey in MH370 mission

  • Nation
  • Friday, 01 Aug 2014

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will send a hydrographic survey vessel to join Chinese and Australian ships in the deep-water survey ahead of the renewed search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

The KD Mutiara will join the Chinese navy vessel Zhu Kezhen and the Australian-contracted specialised survey vessel Fugro Equator in the ocean survey.

Australia’s Joint Agency Coordina-tion Centre (JACC) said in a statement yesterday that the survey would be conducted along the seventh arc, where the last known communication between MH370 and a communications satellite could have taken place.

The statement added that experts identified a search zone of up to 60,000sq km in June.

JACC said it was necessary for the three ships to map the ocean floor to identify features that may be hazardous to deep-water vehicles that would eventually be utilised.

Between May 24 and July 30, the Zhu Kezhen managed to sound over 25,000sq km while the Fugro Equator sounded over 43,000sq km.

The bathymetric data collected would be used to map the ocean floor topography, said the statement.

The renewed search for MH370 is expected to begin in September.

Previously, only 860sq km were covered in the underwater search for MH370.

JACC said a contractor would be appointed through a request for tender process.

Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane, which was carrying 239 people, is believed to have crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean.

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