Now, two months after pausing its search, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau is ready to reboot the massive probe. It is poised to select among bids from the world’s most-advanced deepwater specialists, including offshore oil-and-gas companies, maritime research institutions and treasure hunters eager to use their technologies and experience to solve the Flight 370 riddle—and potentially raise their own profiles in the process.
The ATSB is expected to choose one or more of the bidders over the next several weeks before relaunching the search with $56 million in funding in late August. Those costs will be split, in amounts still to be determined, between the Australian and Malaysian governments.
The good news is that the world’s deep-sea recovery industry is now more sophisticated than ever, thanks to offshore research by oil-and-gas firms that have gone progressively deeper, as well as militaries and insurance firms. Technologies developed to hunt for everything from the Titanic to lost parts of the Space Shuttle Challenger have
further expanded frontiers, allowing investigators to work as deep as about 3.7 miles, or slightly more
than the deepest-known area of the Flight 370 search zone.