Malaysia Minister Of Defence And Acting Minister Of Transport Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein at the briefing on Monday said the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 is a first of its type with more than 27 nations involved.
Recalling the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s statement that the international co-operation underway in the search for MH370 is nothing short of “tremendous”, he said, “The militaries of Malaysia, Australia, the United States, New Zealand, China, Japan and Korea are all working to find the missing plane.”
Currently the search is being conducted by nine nations and the minister thanked Indonesia for clearance of 94 sorties – by aircraft from nine different countries – to fly in their airspace, as part of the search.
“As Prime Minister Abbott said, it is heartening to see so many different countries working together for a humanitarian cause; to resolve this extraordinary mystery; and to bring closure for the families of those on board.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak made a visit to Australia and had a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
“Our Prime Minister has decided to travel to Perth on Wednesday for a working visit to Pearce Air Force base, to see the operations first-hand and also to thank the personnel involved in the multinational search effort, including the Malaysian personnel.
On Monday afternoon, the Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia (Rod Smith) briefed Malaysia on the creation of a new Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre (JACC), which will be based out of Pearce Air Force base in Perth.
The JACC will be headed by Air Chief Marshal (Rtd) Angus Houston, the former Chief of the Defence Force, Australia.
The JACC will co-ordinate search operations in the area of search, which is confined to 254,000 square kilometres now.
The list of 9 military aircraft involved in the search are:
– two Malaysian C-130.
– one Chinese Ilyushin IL-76.
– one Japanese Coast Guard G5.
– one Australian P3 Orion.
– one New Zealand P3 Orion.
– one New Zealand civilian aircraft.
– one American P8 Poseidon.
– one Japanese P3 Orion.
– one Korean P3 Orion.
In addition, 11 ships were also deployed to the search area:
Of them, Eight are Chinese ships:
– the Xue Long.
– the Kunlunshan.
– the Haikou.
– the Qiandaohu Jian.
– the Jing Gang Shan.
– the Haixun.
– the Dong Hai Jian, and
– the Nan Hai Jian.
Three Australian ships:
– the HMAS Success.
– the HMAS Toowoomba, and
– the MV Barkley Pearl, which is currently transiting in the search area.
The minister informed that the Malaysian ship, the KD Lekiu, is expected to arrive in the search area on 3 April.
“The ADV Ocean Shield – fitted with the towed pinger locator and a Bluefin 21 autonomous underwater vehicle – is due to arrive in the search area on 3 April.
What has been Found so Far?
The minister gave an account of what has been found so far in the search area:
— On Saturday, five objects were retrieved by HMAS Success and the Haixun. However, it was found that none of these objects were related to MH370.
— On Sunday, an Australian P3 Orion made visual sightings of seven potential objects. A Korean P3 Orion also made visuals of three potential objects.
— The Chinese ship, the Haixun, was tasked on Monday to retrieve these potential objects.
Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting:
The minister who is also Malaysia’s defence minister, will be leaving for Hawaii on Monday for the United States Pacific Command in Hawaii to attend the ASEAN Defence Ministers meeting, which is being held from April 1 to 3.
The meeting is being convened by US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel.
“I shall be discussing with the United States, and our other friends and allies, how best we can acquire the assets needed for possible deep sea search and recovery,” the minister said.
“The search for MH370 continues to be a large, complex, multinational effort involving many countries and international agencies… we will never give up until we find out what happened to MH370,” the minister vowed.