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The Malaysian government has entered an agreement with US seabed exploration firm Ocean Infinity to continue the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
A statement from Australian minister for infrastructure and transport Darren Chester says Malaysia has accepted a ‘no-find-no-fee’ offer, meaning Ocean Infinity will absorb the cost of the operation if it fails to find the plane, which went missing with 239 passengers and crew onboard on March 8 2014.
The official search was called off in January this year after accruing a bill of more than $200 million. Earlier this month, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau released a final report saying it was “almost inconceivable” and “unacceptable” that the aircraft still hadn’t been located. Two pieces of debris found in 2016 were identified as being ‘almost certainly’ from MH370, but no other evidence has surfaced since.
Chester says Ocean Infinity’s search will focus on an area of the seafloor identified by experts as being the most likely location to find the plane. It will use data collected during the initial search, along with technical assistance from the Malaysian and Australian governments.
The news comes as Malaysia Airlines is reeling from the announcement that CEO Peter Bellew will be returning to Ryanair as COO. The carrier hinted in a statement it had no indication of Bellew’s intent to leave since he had said he was “committed to Malaysia Airlines” when asked to comment on speculation that he would replace outgoing Ryanair COO Michael Hickey, who chose to step down following the recent pilot roster debacle.
In April, the airline became the first to begin tracking its fleet using new satellite technology.