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Published on : Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Bad weather conditions had slowed progress in scouring 120,000 sq km area of the southern Indian Ocean which is still prevalent. The underwater search effort coordinated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) from Canberra said in one of its reports.
The 120,000 sq km area of the southern Indian Ocean was expected to be completed by mid-2016, before being extended to December. However, the ATSB announced that with less than 10,000 sq km of the area to go, it would not be possible to complete the search before Jan-Feb 2017. Poor weather conditions during the southern hemisphere’s winter are the major reason for this delay.
No ships are currently in action in the search zone. The Fugro Equator and the Dong Hai Jiu 101 are being fitted with a remotely operated vehicle to be deployed once weather conditions improve.
It will investigate points of interest previously identified by “the towfish” – the underwater sonar vehicle being pulled behind the search ships.
None of the “sonar contacts” so far resembles aircraft debris, but some have “man-made properties” and so warrant further investigation, the ATSB said.
The third anniversary of MH370’s disappearance en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people onboard will come on 8 March 2017. Till now, three pieces of debris has been confirmed on the shores of Mauritius, Pemba Island off Tanzania and the island of Réunion off Madagascar.
A recent update from the Malaysian government said that 13 pieces are still under evaluation.