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Ocean Infinity’s search will focus initially on the zone identified by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. The vessel, Seabed Constructor, is now close to the search area, which will enable work to commence imminently. The project is expected to last for 90 days, the company states on its website.
Ocean Infinity will take on the economic risk of the renewed search, only receiving payment if the aircraft wreckage is located.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Ocean Infinity’s CEO, Oliver Plunkett said:
“We are pleased that our offer to continue the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has been accepted by the Government of Malaysia, who I would like to thank for giving us the opportunity. Whilst there can be no guarantees of locating the aircraft, we believe our system of multiple autonomous vehicles working simultaneously is well suited to the task at hand. I wish our team the best of luck in their endeavors and sincerely hope that we will be able to play a part in providing some answers to the many people affected by this tragedy.”
Ocean Infinity can use up to eight HUGIN Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), capable of operating in water depths from 5 meters to 6,000 meters.
The AUVs are “free flying”, which means they will not be tethered to the offshore vessel during operations. The ability to operate untethered independent missions allows the AUVs to go deeper and collect higher quality data, making this technology ideal for the search.
The AUVs will be equipped with side scan sonar, multi-beam echosounder, sub-bottom profiler, HD camera, conductivity/temperature/depth sensor, self-compensating magnetometer, synthetic aperture sonar and a turbidity sensor.