The search for Flight MH370, lost with 239 passengers and crew on March 8, has been dealt a week-long setback.
Ocean Shield has been forced to abandon the search and head for Dampier to get replacement parts that support the Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle.
After the Ocean Shield returned to the search on Tuesday, after replenishment at Stirling, the first Bluefin mission had to be aborted after just two hours because of a communications problem.
The crew discovered a defect on the equipment that tracks the Bluefin-21. It is also suspected that a similar problem exists on the unit's communications suite.
Replacement parts are being flown from London.
The Joint Agency Communications Centre said yesterday it would take several days for Ocean Shield to reach Dampier.