MH370 Search Vessel Stops AIS Transmission

UAVs used in MH370 Search
UAVs being used in Ocean Infinity's MH370 search

By The Maritime Executive 2018-02-05 18:34:53

The vessel conducting the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from radars for 80 hours, sparking theories about how another wreck might also feature as part of the search plans.

Ocean Infinity's Seabed Constructor stopped transmitting Automatic Identification System (AIS) data on January 31, and the reason for this remains unclear.

The vessel was 10 days into the search for MH370 which vanished en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board. MH370 disappeared after its communication systems were switched off an hour after taking off.

Ocean Infinity signed a “no cure, no pay” deal with the Malaysian Government which will see it receive more than AU$70 million ($55 million) if it finds the plane within 90 days.

Seabed Constructor's progress has been followed by amateurs and professionals, as was that of earlier vessels involved in the search including Fugro Equator, Fugro Discovery and Havila Harmony. Some have now speculated that the Seabed Constructor took a secret detour examine the wreckage of what is believed to be the S.V. Inca, a Peruvian-built ship that vanished en route to Sydney in 1911. The Havila Harmony found the wreck in water 3.7 kilometers (12,100 feet) deep in January 2016, initially mistaking it for the plane’s fuselage. At that depth, the vessel and its contents may be well-preserved.

The Seabed Constructor arrived at the MH370 search area on January 21 and launched a first autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) the following day. Eight AUVs are being used in the search operation. As of January 28, 4,500 square kilometers (1,700 square miles) has been searched with no significant contacts made. The vessel is being supported by the Maersk Mariner.