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Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 10:32

Australia thanks China for MH370 search contribution

By Xinhua

Australia thanks China for MH370 search contribution
This handout photo taken on April 30, 2011 and released by the Chinese Taipei-based Chinese Search and Rescue Association shows the Dong Hai Jiu 113, a 5,000-tonne rescue ship from the Chinese mainland, moored in Taiwan's central Taichun g harbour. (AFP PHOTO / HO / Chinese Search and Rescue Association / AFP)

CANBERRA - The Australian government on Tuesday thanked China for the services of survey vessel Dong Hai Jiu , which has been described as invaluable in the ocean search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 .

The Australian government thanked China for the services of survey vessel Dong Hai Jiu, describing it as invaluable

Australia's Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester said Dong Hai Jiu had assisted the search operations since February 2016, scanning broad tracks of the Southern Indian Ocean floor using deep tow sonar equipment before undertaking more detailed inspections at points of interest using a Remotely Operated Vehicle.

According to the government, the search vessel has now completed its missions and is currently returning to Shanghai.

"The Dong Hai Jiu 101 has provided significant assistance in the search for the missing aircraft," Chester said in a statement.

"This final detailed inspection, which commenced in late October from (the Western Australian city of) Fremantle, has been invaluable undertaking 33 dives in the 120,000 square-kilometer search area."

Chester said Dutch ship Fugro Equator and its Autonomous Underwater Vehicle would continue the underwater search for MH370, however more than 115,000 square km of the 120,000-square km search zone have so far been examined.

He said the search within the designated 120,000-square km zone is expected to be completed in early 2017.

"Should the aircraft not be located in the current 120,000 square-kilometer search area, and in the absence of credible new evidence leading to the identification of a specific location of the aircraft, the search will be suspended," Chester said.

MH370 was a scheduled passenger flight from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing. It disappeared on March 8, 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board.

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