Malaysia in talks with US firm Ocean Infinity to resume MH370 search

Malaysia in talks with US firm Ocean Infinity to resume MH370 search

FILE PHOTO: A woman leaves a message of support and hope for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 in central Kuala Lumpur March 16, 2014. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is negotiating with US-based seabed exploration firm Ocean Infinity to resume the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on a "No Cure, No Fee" basis.

Channel NewsAsia understands that the family members of the victims were notified of the negotiations through an email that was sent on Thursday (Oct 19). 

MH370 vanished three years ago somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people aboard. Its disappearance has become one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries.

Malaysia, Australia and China ended a AUS$200 million (US$157 million) deep-sea search for the plane in January without any trace being found.

But Malaysia said this week it had received proposals from Ocean Infinity, Dutch firm Fugro and an unidentified Malaysian company offering to continue the search.

However, the Malaysian government has given permission to the response team to proceed with the negotiation process with Ocean Infinity, according to the email sent to family members.

"Yes, we are negotiating with Ocean Infinity but the agreement has not been finalised," Deputy Transport Minister Aziz Kaprawi told Reuters.

“Ocean Infinity are not yet able to confirm the award of a contract to help in the search for MH370, but good progress has been made," a spokesman for Ocean Infinity said in a statement.

An official announcement will be made once the negotiations are over.

(Additional reporting by Sumisha Naidu)

Source: Reuters/aa