Ocean Infinity, the United States seabed exploration firm, confirmed on January 3, 2017, that its search vessel is moving to look for debris of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared in 2014, Reuters reports. Despite the previous announcement that the company would search for the aircraft on ‘no find, no pay’ basis, no official contract is yet signed.
According to the publication, the private company sent out the vessel towards the possible search area for MH370 in order to use an upcoming favorable “weather window”, should the deal with Malaysian government is signed. Malaysian official claims the contract is not yet signed as the final decision has not been made, thus information on the vessel movement comes as a surprise.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared from radars on March 8, 2014, less than an hour after takeoff. There were 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board the Boeing 777 aircraft. So far, several pieces of debris suspected to come from the aircraft have been found at different locations, including in Mozambique, South Africa and the French island of Reunion.
In January 2017, the Australian government's Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), tasked with coordinating the search, stated that the search for the plane had concluded unsuccessfully nearly three years after the aircraft disappeared. The total cost of the search came to some $145 million. Malaysia then agreed with other Indian Ocean states to allow private searches for the plane wreckage with an agreement on debris management in place.
In October 2017 the Australian Transport Safety Bureau released the final report, summing up the already concluded search of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in which it claims that “the understanding of where MH370 may be located is better now than it has ever been”.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau claims that it the possible location of the missing MH370 is now identified to be within an area of less than 25,000 square kilometers. Some independent oceanographic studies concluded that the crash site is not in the initial 120,000 square kilometer search area, but further north. For instance, a European study placed the crash site between 28°S and 35°S, while a study by University of Western Australia puts it between 28°S and 33°S