SYDNEY - A mini-sub searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 recommenced its operations on Thursday after technical problems, as it enters its final week of scouring the Indian Ocean seabed for signs of the aircraft.
Australia is leading the search for the plane which vanished on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people onboard and is using the Bluefin-21 mini-sub until new equipment can be obtained.
"The autonomous underwater vehicle, Bluefin-21, was deployed from the vessel around 2:00 am this morning. It remains underwater on its search mission," the Joint Agency Coordination Centre said.
The US Navy Bluefin-21, which can plunge to a depth of some 4,500 metres (15,000 feet), was brought back to shore last week to fix technical issues which saw it pulled from the water.
It resumed its search in the remote area of several transmissions believed to have come from the missing aircraft's black box recorders.
"Over the next week, Bluefin-21 will search the remaining areas in the vicinity of the acoustic signals detected in early April by the towed pinger locator... that are within its depth operating limits," JACC said.
"This continues the process that will ultimately enable the search team to discount or confirm the area of the acoustic signals as the final resting place of MH370."
The Australian ship which deployed the Bluefin-21, Ocean Shield, is expected to leave the search area on May 28 and return to Perth on May 31 to demobilise the mini-sub.