PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Voice 370, a support group for MH370 next-of-kin, welcomed the long-awaited signing of the contract between the Malaysian government and US-based seabed exploration firm Ocean Infinity on Wednesday (Jan 10).
In a statement on Wednesday night, the group thanked the government for its efforts in evaluating offers and concluding the agreement.
"We appreciate the bold offer for the search on a 'no cure, no fee' basis from Ocean Infinity," said the group, which also extended its best wishes to all parties involved in the search and expressed fervent hope that it would yield results.
"While it may not bring our loved ones back into our midst, we wish for the answers that will let matters rest, and to make civil aviation safer.
"We urge Malaysia to periodically update and consult with the families on an ongoing basis, particularly with the current search and future recovery efforts and handling or any debris and/or human remains, if located," they added.
The Malaysian government on Wednesday struck a deal to pay Ocean Infinity up to US$70 million (S$93.4 million) if it finds the aircraft within 90 days .
The search for the debris and flight data recorders will begin from the middle of this month, covering 25,000 sq km in the southern Indian Ocean within a 90-day timeframe, the Transport Ministry announced at a news conference.
Under the "no find, no fee" deal, Ocean Infinity will be paid US$20 million if it locates the debris or recorders within the first 5,000 sq km of the search area. The amount rises to US$30 million for the next 10,000 sq km, and US$50 million for the outer most area of 10,000 sq km.
The firm will be paid US$70 million if anything substantial is found beyond the stipulated search area.
The payment will be borne by the Malaysian government.
Should the Ocean Infinity search be unfruitful, Voice 370 asked that Malaysia be open to similar 'no cure, no fee' search proposals from other parties or initiate a prepaid search if new evidence is found.
The Malaysia Airlines jet disappeared in March 2014 with 239 people - mostly from China - on board, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, triggering one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries.