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Published: Fri, October 21, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Bad winter delays MH370 search by up to two months, say authorities

Bad winter delays MH370 search by up to two months, say authorities

No ships are now in action in the search zone, with the Fugro Equator having left to return to port on 15 October while the Dong Hai Jiu 101 remains berthed at Fremantle in Western Australia.

The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean is expected to continue in 2017 as bad weather has delayed the ongoing operations. "However some exhibit man-made properties and therefore must be investigated further to be positively eliminated".

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, or ATSB, on Tuesday said the Dong Hai Jiu 101 will be fitted with Phoenix International Holding's Remora III remotely operated vehicle, or ROV, which has video cameras.

'Winter weather conditions have, until now, prevented the safe deployment of the ROV, but now sea states are improving'.

The contacts are grouped into three classification levels, with those labelled "classification 1" considered most likely to have come from the aircraft.

One question which arises from the wording of today's operational update is whether the ATSB should be providing for investigations of unresolved sonar contacts that might have been made by MH370 leaving an 'uncharacteristic' aircraft debris field.

Malaysia Airlines MH370, a Boeing 777, disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014 carrying 239 passengers and crew.

The agency added that poor weather conditions during the June-August southern hemisphere winter meant the projected completion date for the hunt had been pushed back from December to January-February next year. Authorities announced in July 2016 that the search for the plane will be suspended if no credible new evidence is found in the current search area.

An underwater search of 120,000 sq km of seabed in the southern Indian Ocean, which is believed to cover the most likely area for a crash site, is nearly complete - without any trace of the plane being found.

Jailani said though the search had entered the third year, the government remains committed to continue the search and urged the next-of-kin of the MH370 victims to remain calm and have faith in the search team.

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