Maritime Activity Boosts in Search for Flight 370
The maritime industry has ramped up contributions to the worldwide search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 as an international team scours for signs of the Boeing 777 which went missing nearly two weeks ago with 239 people on board.
Merchant and navy ships have recently helped to relaunch a search in the Indian Ocean where Australian authorities said satellites spotted possible debris. So far, no confirmed signs of wreckage have been reported.
Commercial maritime companies have pitched in to assist authorities as the hunt proceeds globally. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said two commercial vessels are currently assisting its operations in the Indian Ocean, including Norway-based Ro/Ro vehicle transport company Höegh Autoliners, who confirmed participation of its vessel Höegh St Petersburg. According to the shipping company, its vessel is following instructions from AMSA.
Britain's multipurpose survey vessel HMS Echo as well as the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Success are scheduled to assist in the search area, and Reuters reported today that Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, a Chinese icebreaker for Antarctic research will join up to five more Chinese ships and three helicopters in the region. AMSA said its search has also received contributions from four Australian P3 aircraft, one New Zealand P3 aircraft, one U.S. Navy’s P8 aircraft and a commercial jet. Officials said Chinese and Japanese planes are scheduled to join the search this weekend.
Investigators suspect Flight MH370 was deliberately diverted thousands of miles after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on March 8, Reuters reported. Hijacking or sabotage remain the focus of investigations, but technical problems are not beyond possibility.
Sources: Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Reuters, staff