The government of Malaysia is considering a proposal from seabed exploration firm Ocean Infinity, a USA company, to resume the search for Malaysia Airlines MH370, according to news reports on Thursday.
Malaysia entered into the deal with Ocean Infinity on a "no find, no fee" basis - a model typically applied to underwater searches aimed at retrieving sunken cargo.
It is, however unclear whether any payment structure has been agreed between the tripartite coalition of Malaysia, Australia and China, the countries responsible in searching for the aircraft since March 8, 2014.
Australia, China and Malaysia, which jointly coordinated and funded the search operation, had in January suspended the search for MH370 when traces of the Boeing 777 could not be found in the 120,000 sq km search area of the southern Indian Ocean.
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It was recently reported that Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said Malaysia had received proposals from Ocean Infinity as well as the Dutch company, Fugro, and an unidentified Malaysian company to continue the search for the missing aircraft.
'Ocean Infinity are not yet able to confirm the final award of a contract to help in the search for MH370, but good progress has been made, ' company spokesperson Mark Antelme told CNN in an email.
The search for MH370 has been the most expensive in aviation history, costing an estimated $200 million, according to CNN.
The Australia Transport Safety Bureau has led the search efforts, since the plane is believed to have crashed in its jurisdiction.
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'Ocean Infinity will focus on that part of the sea floor, ' Mr Chester said.
"While I am hopeful of a successful search, I'm conscious of not raising hopes for the loved ones of those on board", Chester said. As it ended, Australia released findings suggesting there was "a high probability" that the aircraft was in an area of the ocean measuring 25,000 sq km (9,652 sq miles).
In the following months, investigators claimed to have found a location in the ocean, south of the designated search area, where the plane's wreckage is likely to be found.
The statement also indicates that once an agreement is reached, Malaysia will notify the Australian and Chinese governments before informing the families of the missing passengers.
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