Search for MH370 in Indian Ocean is over

THE search for lost Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 is in the Indian Ocean is largely over, with the area where ping signals emanated from ruled out on Thursday.

A statement from the search's Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre on Thursday said that "no signs of aircraft debris" were found since the Bluefin-21 joined the search.

More than 850 square kilometres of ocean floor have been scoured in the search, which is tipped to cost upwards of $90 million once completed.

But while efforts have proved futile in the Indian Ocean, the government will still go ahead with plans to map the sea floor in the "defined search area" and contract a private firm to complete another search in August.

That search, the statement said, could last up to 12 months before it finds something, or nothing, while the bathymetric survey will take about three months.

The statement also seemed to confirm that apart from the tender for a private search of the area, Australia's direct role is largely over.

"The underwater search will aim to locate the aircraft and any evidence (such as aircraft debris and flight recorders) to assist with the Malaysian investigation of the disappearance of MH370," it said.