Firm to receive up to $70m if MH370 found in new hunt

Civil Aviation Malaysia's Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman and Ocean Infinity's CEO Oliver Plunkett exchange documents witnessed by Malaysia's Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai during the MH370 search operations signing ceremony between Malaysia

Firm to receive up to $70m if MH370 found in new hunt

Ocean Infinity Chief Executive Oliver Plunkett said the search vessel Seabed Constructor, which left the South African port of Durban last week, is expected to reach the southern Indian Ocean by January 17 to begin the hunt. The plane vanished on March 8, 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. The amount rises gradually to a maximum of $70-million if the jet is found outside the 25,000 square kilometre search zone.

According to a "no-find, no-fee" contract awarded to the seabed exploration firm, Ocean Infinity, the latter will receive up to 70 million dollars if successful.

"It is my hope that we will find the answer that we seek for almost four years and bring some closure to this unfortunate incident, " Liow said at a press conference outside Kuala Lumpur. Hopefully, Ocean Infinity can finally locate the aircraft to once and for all solve this lingering mystery.

It is expected that the search will be going on for a record of 90 days and will most probably be taking place over an area of approximately 25,000 square kilometers off Australia's west coast.

Ocean Infinity will focus on a region of around 10,000 square miles identified as an area of interest by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

"The primary mission by Ocean Infinity is to identify the location of the wreckage and/or both of the flight recorders. and present a considerable and credible evidence to confirm the exact location of the two main items", Lai said at a press conference. "They can not take forever or drag it on for another six months or a year". Plunkett estimated that the underwater drones can cover an area of 1,200 square kms in a day, and complete 25,000 square kilometres target within a month.

"It was a unique problem that required a unique solution. we looked at it and said, 'Let's do something different than what other people would do, ' and that's the essence of our business".

The company's shareholders would bear the upfront costs of the search, Plunkett added.

The previous search effort and the wreckage found have allowed researchers to revise their assessments on the search area, underpinning Ocean Infinity's confidence in finding the aircraft, Plunkett said.

Investigators believe MH370 headed south over the Indian Ocean for about six hours before plummeting into the water.

Relatives and friends of those on board, as well as the aviation industry itself, are desperate for answers, but the events of that fateful night remain a mystery.

A lengthy multinational search carried out by Malaysia, China, and Australia covered nearly 50,000 square miles of the southern Indian Ocean but was called off at the start of 2017 after failing to locate the plane, a Boeing 777.

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