Malaysia will pay U.S. company Ocean Infinity up to $70 million if it can find the wreckage or black boxes of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 within three months.
MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014, and was headed to Beijing when it disappeared. The government is pledging $20 million if the aircraft or both flight recorders are found within 5,000 square kilometers of the primary search area, with the reward topping off at $70 million if it's found in a search area exceeding 25,000 square kilometers.
The payment is on a sliding scale. On the other hand, the general director of that American company, Oliver Plunkett, commented that the search ship Seabed Constructor, in charge of the search operations, sailed last week from the port of Durban, South Africa, and is expected to arrive next January 17 to the Indian Ocean.
No sign of the plane was found in the search zone selected by satellite analysis of the flight's projected trajectory. Beyond that area, it will receive US$70 million, Liow said.
Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai says there's an 85 per cent chance of finding the debris in a new 25,000 square kilometres area identified by experts.
After combined efforts by the governments of Australia, China and Malaysia failed to locate the vanished aircraft, the new search will be carried out in a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean west of Australia.
"We came to the conclusion that it is important for us to continue this mission to finally find some answers and closure", he said.
In December 2016, an Australian government report confirmed that teams searching for the missing aircraft had been very likely been looking in the wrong place.
He said eight autonomous underwater vehicles - drones fitted with high-tech cameras, sonars and sensors - will be dispatched to map the seabed at a faster pace.
Ocean Infinity's search team set off on their expedition on January 2.
"The ability to operate untethered independent missions allows the AUVs to go deeper and collect higher quality data, making this technology ideal for the search", the Ocean Infinity press release states.
Last week, Ocean Infinity said it had moved the vessel closer to a possible search area.
The submersibles or "autonomous underwater vehicles", as the firm call them, can cover 1,200 sq km a day and the entire 25,000 sq km within three to four weeks. Most of the passengers were Chinese.
Competing theories have surfaced as to what led to the plane's disappearance, though none are conclusive. Systems created to automatically transmit the flight's position failed to work after this point, said a final report from Australian Transport Safety Board last January.
News of the resumption of search was welcomed by family members.