Dutch multinational technical consultancy Fugro has been awarded a contract by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) to deploy its Fugro Equator vessel in the underwater search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 (MH370).

The Fugro Equator will be equipped with multibeam echosounder equipment to perform a bathymetric survey of the search area. The vessel is expected to commence search operations in mid June.

"The Fugro Equator will be equipped with multibeam echosounder equipment to perform a bathymetric survey of the search area."

The accumulated seabed data will assist in the creation of maps of the seabed offshore Western Australia, which is relatively uncharted.

The maps will help in planning further stages of the MH370 search.

Fugro provides consulting services for design and construction of infrastructure and buildings on land and at sea, as well as for the installation, repair and maintenance of their subsea infrastructure.

The Beijing-bound MH370 aircraft carrying 239 passengers and crew disappeared from radar screens on 8 March, one hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur.

More than a dozen countries have been aiding the search to find traces of the aircraft in the southern Indian Ocean.

In April, an autonomous underwater vehicle, Bluefin-21, was deployed in the area after an Australian ship, Ocean Shield, picked up four acoustic signals.