A San Diego-built cargo ship continues to support the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the Pentagon said Thursday, noting the U.S. cost of the mission has topped $11 million.

The Military Sealift Command dry cargo ship USNS Cesar Chavez joined the task force April 10 to provide logistical support.

Royal Australian Navy sailors aboard the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Perth awaits Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship Cesar Chavez (right) in the Indian Ocean April 12. Royal Australian Navy photo by Able Seaman Imagery Specialist Nicolas Gonzalez

The Chavez — built at San Diego’s National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., or NASSCO — is the Navy’s newest Combat Logistics Force ship. It’s operated by a crew of 125 civil service mariners, along with 11 Navy sailors who provide operational support and supply coordination, according to Naval Today.

Total cost of the search to date is $11.4 million, said Army Col. Steve Warren. This figure includes $4,200 per flight hour for the two P-8 Poseidon aircraft involved in the search. The plane and its 239 passengers disappeared March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing

The breakdown is:

  • $4.6 million in operations and maintenance funds.
  • $3.2 million in overseas humanitarian disaster and civic aid funds.
  • And $3.6 million for underwater search equipment and support.
  • The P-8s continue conducting aerial search operations, and the Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle completed its 12th search mission, Warren said.

    “Bluefin-21 has now completed more than 90 percent of a focused underwater search … . Unfortunately, no contacts of interest have been found,” he said.

    The department has received no requests for additional underwater search assets, Warren said.

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