The first of three ships assigned to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has arrived to the search area to resume the so far fruitless hunt.
GO Phoenix, owned by Perth-based oil and gas company Go Marine Group, was hired by Malaysia’s government to scan the sea bed in the area some 1,100 miles (1,700km) west of Australia, which is deemed the most likely resting place of the unfortunate aircraft.
The vessel will scour the sea bed with its side scan sonar towed close to the bottom of the ocean, which could lie at depths of more than 6km.
The area in focus, some 23,000-square miles (60,000 square kilometres) in size, has been pinpointed by investigators after a detailed analysis of final data exchanges between the doomed aircraft and telecommunication satellites of UK operator Inmarsat.
GO Phoenix, which can cover up to 194 square kilometres a day, will later be joined by two other vessels operated by Dutch geo-survey firm Fugro.
The side scan sonar to be used by the search vessels sends out beams of soundwaves parallel to the ocean floor and uses the reflected sound to detect objects sticking above the surface.
The technology was used to detect the wreckage of Air France Flight 447, which had crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009.
The technology can distinguish features as small as 100 square centimetres from a distance of up to 1.2km.
The search for the Boeing 777 lost en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in early March this year, was suspended for several months to allow the search teams to re-evaluate available data and redefine the search area.
The hunt for the lost Flight MH370 has become not only the most extensive and expensive search operation in the history of aviation but also one of the greatest mysteries.
239 people are believed to have lost their lives in the accident.