Sydney - Australia contracted a Dutch survey company to conduct a search of the southern Indian Ocean sea floor for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, a senior official said Wednesday.
Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said Fugro Survey Pty Ltd will employ two vessels equipped with towed deep-water vehicles to search for possible debris.
"The vessels will search the sea floor using side scan sonar, multi-beam echo sounders and video cameras to locate and identify the aircraft debris," he said.
The underwater search will cover an area of 60,000 square kilometres and is expected to take up to 12 months to complete.
Truss said the mission will be supported by four vessels from the Malaysian government during the search, while the Chinese ship Zhu Kezhen will continue its work surveying the southern Indian Ocean seafloor until mid-September.
The Beijing-bound MH370, with 239 people aboard, disappeared on March8 about an hour after it took off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It changed course in flight was suspected to have run out of fuel over the Indian Ocean.