MO,3/3/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: The move to assemble MH370 wreckage pieces is in the last phase of preparation will be finalised by the mid of this month. Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) chairman, Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, said the plan was devised by Malaysia with inputs from Australian experts. He said the plan includes technical preparation and the related equipment to bring up the wreckage of the aircraft which maybe found at a depth of 6,000 metres in the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean.
“The plan was initially agreed upon in 2014 when we conducted search in a 160,000 square kilometre area which at that time was led by Australia. “But now, the search is being led by Malaysia, so we need to consider drawing up a plan to reconstruct the debris of the plane and the black box with the cooperation of various agencies and local experts. “The purpose of the plan is to enable further follow up action to be taken in the event the underwater search by the Seabed Constructor, owned by Ocean Infinity Limited, finds MH370,” he said today.
Azharuddin was speaking to reporters at the fourth year commemoration of the MH370 incident, here. Present was Deputy Secretary-General of the Transport Ministry, Mohd Khairul Adib Abd Rahman and CAAM’s Chief Executive Officer, Ahmad Nizar Zolfakar. He further explained that Seabed Constructor which is equipped with eight autonomous underwater vehicles has the ability to conduct a 26 day cycle search operation. Azharuddin said as such the 90 days allocated under the terms of the MH370 search contract,
signed by Malaysia with Ocean Infinity Limited excludes time for the vessel’s return journey to its pier for maintenance and resupply services. “We expect the MH370 search handled by Ocean Infinity would be completed around June or July of this year and it involves an area of 25,000 square kilometre. “As such it is too early for us to conclude the possibility that the search efforts for te MH370 in the Indian Ocean will be met with failure.
“In any case, the next of kin would be given priority on the latest development’s involving our search efforts. In fact we produce weekly reports every Tuesday based on information received from two Royal Malaysian Navy members who are attached with the mission led by Seabed Constructor,” he said. Malaysia signed a deal with the United States-based exploration firm Ocean Infinity Limited to officially continue the search for the missing aircraft.
The deal is on a “no cure, no fee” whereby debris found within the first 5,000 sq km will be paid US$20 million (RM82 million), and for the subsequent 10,000 sq km, a sum of US$30 million (RM122 million) will be paid; and for another 10,000 sqkm, US$50 million (RM204 million) will be paid.
Beyond that area, Ocean Infinity will be paid a total of US$70 million (RM280 million), however the search must be completed within a 90-day time frame. Australia, Malaysia and China called off their two-year search for the plane a year ago after finding nothing in a 120,000-sq-km underwater search zone. Flight MH370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014 with 239 people, mostly Chinese, on board.