06 October 2014, News Wires – A Singapore-managed offshore vessel has kicked off the latest phase in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The anchor-handling tug supply unit Go Phoenix on Monday began scouring a stretch of water about 1800 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia, almost seven months after the airplane went missing with 239 people on board.
In early August, Malaysian state oil company Petronas said it was funding the 67 million Malaysian ringgit ($20.5 million today) deployment of the Go Phoenix and a Prosas towed side scan sonar unit. The Marshall Islands-flagged vessel is managed by Go Offshore Asia of Singapore.
Also in early August, survey player Fugro won a contract to deploy two of its vessels – Fugro Discovery and Fugro Equator – in the search for the plane.
Both units will be equipped with side-scan sonar, multi-beam echo sounders and video cameras as they hunt for the Boeing 777-200ER that went missing with 12 Malaysian crew and 227 passengers on 8 March en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bgency, which is leading the underwater search, said this week he was “cautiously optimistic” the next phase would locate the plane.
“Cautious because of all the technical and other challenges we’ve got, but optimistic because we’re confident in the analysis,” Martin Dolan told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“But it’s just a very big area that we’re looking at.” The search is expected to last up to a year.