The latest search for MH370 will end next week after failing to find the wreckage of the aircraft, Malaysia’s Transport Minister has reportedly said.
New Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook said the new Malaysian cabinet had agreed to extend the search until May 29 but there would be no extensions, according to a report on Australia’s ABC.
The private company behind the search, Ocean Infinity, said it had seen the reports but it was still searching.
“At the moment we are continuing operations in the north of the search area, which the oceanography experts believe is an area worth investigating,” a spokesman told airlineratings.
“We are approaching the end of the current search, and the weather also soon becomes a limiting factor, but we’re currently maximizing our efforts whilst we can.”
Ocean Infinity finished searching the target area originally agreed to in April but had moved further north to cover an area defined by a University of Western Australia drift study and the independent group of experts.
The ABC quoted Loke as saying the government would release a full report on the investigation into MH370’s disappearance after the offshore search was completed, but had not yet determined a date for the report’s release.
Previous predictions were the search would end in June or early July.
The move comes as families of victims of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have called for a full review in the next 100 days of all matters related to the Boeing 777’s disappearance in 2014.
The Voice 370 group says it has drawn comfort from the fact many leaders in Malaysia’s new government had been “strong and constant supporters and sympathizers” of the group over the past four years and wants further consultation.
It has asked in an open letter to the government for a comprehensive review of all matters related to the aircraft’s disappearance with 239 people on board “especially the release of all relevant documents such as the full cargo manifest’’.
It wants an investigation into any possible falsification or elimination of records related to the flight and its maintenance.
And it has called a probe into “any act or omission Across the entire spectrum of operations that may have impaired tracking, search, rescue and recovery”.
“We also hope, like with other recent matters, Malaysian will be more open to sharing MH370-related information with other international governments, bodies and agencies in order to allow a complete and thorough review to take place,’’ it said.
Ocean Infinity was given 90 days to complete the search but this did not include transit time to or from port so the ship could re-supply.
Under the agreement brokered by the company and the previous Malaysian Government, the searchers would have received a $US70 million fee if they had found the wreckage outside a primary 25,000 square kilometre zone defined by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, CSIRO and other experts.
They would have received between $US20 million and $US50 million if it had been found in the primary search area.
The company has suggested it might return to look again for the wreckage at some point in the future but it is not clear how that would be viewed by the new Malaysian cabinet.