The continuing arrival of a group of survey ships off Australia’s west coast has raised hopes that the wreckage of the Malaysian MH370 aircraft will be found within days, in an operation that is costing the Malaysian and Australian governments some $57 million (£35 million), reports the Daily Mail.
The new arrivals, civilian contracted survey ships using towed sonar arrays which are derivatives to the types developed during the Cold War for navies to track enemy submarines. One such craft is the Furgo Discovery, an ex-Norwegian Navy, British operated survey vessel which arrived at Fremantle harbour on Saturday.
Such vessels are usually chartered to the oil, gas and telecom industries as their highly sophisticated sensory suite is perfect for inspecting undersea pipelines and cables. She set sail from South Africa to reach Australia last month.
The Furgo Discovery, like other survey ships of its type has a large onboard winch and hoisting crane on the transom which allows it to trail sophisticated sensing equipment on a steel cable several kilometers abaft, to minimise sonic and electromagnetic interference from ship systems.
MH370 vanished in March this year and has been the subject of intense speculation since. Varying theories including terrorist hijack, a suicidal pilot or strike by an anti-air missile have been doing the rounds, but confirmation of the victims of its disappearance is unlikely until the wreckage is found.