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Last ship departs in search for missing Malaysia Airlines MH370

By
Allen Cone
The Dutch-owned Fugro Equator searches for missing Malaysian airline, MH370, in the southern Indian Ocean. The vessel, which is the last one searching for the missing plane, departed for its likely final mission Monday. File photo by Justin Baulch/Australian Transport Safety Bureau
The Dutch-owned Fugro Equator searches for missing Malaysian airline, MH370, in the southern Indian Ocean. The vessel, which is the last one searching for the missing plane, departed for its likely final mission Monday. File photo by Justin Baulch/Australian Transport Safety Bureau

PERTH, Australia, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The final vessel left an Australian port in search of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane that mysteriously crashed into the southern Indian Ocean two years ago.

The Dutch-owned Fugro Equator departed Fremantle on Monday night to look for wreckage from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester's office said.

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"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," Chester told The West Australian newspaper.

Fremantle's weather will determine whether it's the final journey for the search ship, Chester said.

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The Fugro Equator will re-examine a few remaining spots with its autonomous underwater vehicle.

Australia, Malaysia and China agreed in July that if there is no "credible new evidence" of a specific location, the search will be called off.

Earlier this month, the Chinese vessel Dong Hai Jiu 101 returned to Shanghai, leaving the Fugro Equator as the last ship checking the 46,332-square-mile search area.

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Originally, several countries took part in the search.

MH370 was en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, carrying 239 people, when it disappeared on March 8, 2014.

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Not a single piece of the wreckage has been found in the ocean, though debris identified as being from MH370 has washed up in Mozambique, Tanzania, Madagascar, Reunion Island and Mauritius.

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Last week, seven family members of passengers searched in Madagascar for debris.

Last month, Australian officials said the plane could have spiraled into the Indian Ocean without anyone in control in the cockpit. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau theorized that an electrical issue led to the loss of engine power that also knocked out the use of autopilot.

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