The search vessel tasked with finding Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 “went dark” for more than three days last week after its tracking system was mysteriously switched off on Jan 31.

According to Australian news site news.com, the Seabed Constructor’s automatic identification system (AIS) was not reconnected until some 80 hours later.

It is not known what caused the vessel to disable its AIS.

The Seabed Constructor is scheduled to dock at Fremantle on Feb 8 and will likely give an update on its search progress later this week, the report added.

The vessel began its search on Jan 22 in what has been called the final effort to locate the missing aircraft.

Under its deal with Malaysia, US company Ocean Infinity will be paid up to US$70 million (RM280 million) if it finds MH370 within 90 days.

MH370 disappeared in March 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

No trace of the plane’s main wreckage has been found despite the largest and most expensive search operation in modern aviation history.

The initial search was suspended a year ago despite investigators urging that it be extended to a 25,000 sq km area further to the north.

Only three confirmed fragments of MH370 have been found, all of them on western Indian Ocean shores, including a two-metre wing part known as a flaperon.

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