The team searching for the AirAsia Bhd. plane that disappeared on a stormy flight to Singapore will benefit from the fact that the jet's last known location was over shallow and well-traveled waters among Indonesia's islands.

The hunt for the Airbus Group NV A320 single-aisle jet, which disappeared Sunday morning en route from the central Indonesian city of Surabaya, is focused on Kumai Bay off the coast of Borneo, authorities said. Twelve vessels, dozens of inflatable boats and six warships, plus military aircraft from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia, are searching an area of more than 11,000 sq. nautical miles.

The ocean floor in the Java Sea is flat and muddy, and rarely deeper than 60 meters (197 feet), according to Hans Berekoven, an amateur archaeologist who surveyed the area for oil prospects in the 1990s.