PETALING JAYA - A vessel involved in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 plane suffered minor damage due to bad weather conditions and was forced to return to port for repairs.
In an operational update, Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said the supporting frame of GO Phoenix's deep tow system was damaged on deck during rough weather.
It said repairs required significant welding work, which was initiated out at sea but the ship ran out of welding supplies.
"On June 3, the vessel's supply of bottled oxygen and acetylene (both required for welding) was exhausted, requiring the ship to return to Fremantle (Australia) for resupply." it said.
The ATSB also said weather conditions would continue during the winter months, but pauses were anticipated when bad weather conditions escalate.
To date, 50,000 sq km of the original 60,000 sq km search area has been searched. As announced in April, the search area was expanded to enable up to 120,000 sq km to be searched, but there will be no further of this search area unless new leads surface.