The mystery surrounding a ship hunting for the wreckage of missing flight MH370 has intensified after it docked in Perth under a shroud of secrecy.
Seabed Constructor has spent two weeks scouring the ocean floor in the southern Indian Ocean for the fuselage or debris from MH370.
Today it docked at Henderson, south of Perth, without addressing rumours running rife about its recent movements, which emerged after it stopped transmitting its location while near the site of a historic shipwreck.
The vessel has been the subject of intense internet speculation after it mysteriously turned off its transponder while at sea, prompting observers to question where it was and what it was doing.
#MH370 My night time update. Not sure what Seabed Constructor is up to . She has slowed to almost stop several times in this. 4 images. One track without the previous track and one with. A mid view and an overview pic.twitter.com/J7WEkKhrim
— Kevin Rupp (@LabratSR) January 31, 2018
The Texas-based operator of the ship, Ocean Infinity, is not commenting on the “blackout” period that lasted more than three days, nor the vessel’s progress so far and has declined to give any interviews while the vessel is in port.
The communications company representing the operator told the ABC that the ship would have a “quick turnaround” in Perth before the crew continued with the search.
Access to the dock at Henderson is restricted, but the ship can be seen from nearby vantage points.
One theory around Seabed Constructor‘s curious movements is that it went off-course to retrieve a chest from a nearby shipwreck.
Others have suggested the ship may have found something of interest relating to the wreckage of MH370 and turned off its automatic identification system to limit distress to families of the 239 victims who may be tracking its progress.
The Malaysian Government has signed a “no find, no fee” deal with Ocean Infinity.
If the ship does locate the wreckage it stands to earn between $US20 million and $US70 million.