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Chinese vessel joins in MH370 search

A Chinese vessel will join in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER towards the end of February.

The vessel, Dong Hai Jiu 101, has been recently refitted and will be equipped with a 6,000m depth-rated synthetic aperture sonar towed system for the MH370 search, says Australia infrastructure minister Warren Truss. It will be searching in the southern Indian Ocean.

The sonar towed system will be operated by Phoenix International Holdings and Hydrospheric Solutions, both of which have experience in the MH370 search having previously operated on search vessel Go Phoenix.

The vessel is currently in Singapore and is expected to depart for Australia on 31 January.

With the addition of the Chinese ship, there will be four vessels searching for MH370 in a 120,000 square kilometre area.

Earlier this week, the Joint Agency Coordination Centre said that a sonar deep tow vehicle that was being used to scan the ocean floor was lost. The towfish, operated from the ship Fugro Discovery, had collided with a mud volcano that caused the tow cable to break.

MH370 went missing on whilst enroute from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing during the early hours of 8 March 2014. Subsequent investigations have determined that the aircraft ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean.

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