Final ship to search for missing Malaysian airlines plan departs
The final ship looking for missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has begun its final search.
Dutch-owned Fugro Equator left the Australian port of Fremantle on Monday.
The search will be suspended if the plane is not found by February 2017 when the ship is due to complete this search mission.
"It has been an heroic undertaking but we have to prepare ourselves for the prospect that we may not find MH370 in the coming weeks, although we remain hopeful," Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester told the West Australian newspaper
Several countries including Australia and China have taken part in the underwater search.
Last week Chinese ship Dong Hai Jiu 101 finished searching the 46,000 square mile expanse last weekend and was heading back to Fremantle to drop off equipment before returning to its home port, the statement said.
The Chinese ship in February joined three search vessels operated by Dutch underwater survey company Fugro in the hunt for the Boeing 777 that authorities say crashed with 239 people aboard far off the south-west coast of Australia on March 8 2014.
Family members of some of the victims of the tragedy have also recently searched for debris themselves.
A few aeroplane fragments confirmed to be from MH370 had been found by members of the public on the East African and Madagascan coasts in recent months.
The location of the debris is in line with drift modelling patterns based on the theory that MH370 went down in a part of the Indian Ocean near Australia.
The families have expressed frustration at the lack of concrete evidence turned up by the official search, and have called for a coordinated effort to search beaches for debris.