MH370: One vessel quits search, two others pause to resupply

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KUALA LUMPUR: Three vessels involved in the current Phase One of the search operation for the missing flight MH370 have left the search location in the Indian Ocean, but two of them will return.The Australian Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), which oversees the search, said GO Phoenix ceased the deep-sea operation on June 20, with its contract reported to have ended.

The other two vessels, Fugro Discovery and Fugro Equator, had left the area for port visits to resupply, which is deemed as a routine and necessary part of search operations, JACC said in a statement.”Over the coming week, neither vessel will be in the search area as they transit to and from the Port of Fremantle. Following resupply, both vessels will return to the search area,” the agency said.

“Search operations will continue through the winter months, but pauses are anticipated,” it said.The Malaysia Airlines plane with 239 passengers and crew on board disappeared from radar screens while heading to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on the morning of March 8 last year.

Last Saturday, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had said Phase One of the search mission involving 60,000 sq km of the Indian Ocean would be completed by the end of this month.
He had also said Malaysia was committed to continuing into the second phase which would involve an additional area of 60,000 sq km. JACC said more than 50,000 sq km of the seafloor had been searched so far.

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