PASIR PUTEH: The sample of oil slick recovered off the coast of Tok Bali, Kelantan, is not oil from the missing MH370 plane, said the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).
The agency’s eastern region enforcement chief Datuk Nasir Adam said test results showed that it was “bunker” oil from passing ships.
“The oil slick is from bunkering activities and not from an aircraft,” said Nasir at the agency’s base in Tok Bali yesterday.
The result was confirmed by the Chemistry Department.
On Sunday, the MMEA’s search team found a 16km-long “yellowish” oil slick about 20 nautical miles south of the last point of contact of the plane.
Nasir, who led the MMEA’s search and rescue operations, said there was still no clue to indicate the location of the missing aircraft.
“Our search sectors today are closer to the coast of Besut and we did not find any clue,” he said.
In Kuala Lumpur, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said New Zealand had come forward to offer its maritime surveillance aircraft for search and rescue operations.
He said he had received a fax yesterday from his New Zealand counterpart John Key, offering the use of their P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft.
“Malaysia accepts the offer and the plane will be used immediately to assist in the joint operations,” he said after chairing the Bumiputera Economic Council meeting yesterday.
Najib also announced that he had cancelled his three-day trip to Mauritius to join its independence day celebrations.
In Putrajaya, Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the search and rescue radius for the missing plane would be expanded to 100 nautical miles from the point it disappeared.
“It is in line with intensifying our search for the airplane,” he said.
The search would now cover part of the northern Straits of Malacca, over land in peninsular Malaysia as well as the waters between Malaysia and Vietnam.
He said the search was being widened due to the possibility of MH370 making a flight “turn-back”.
Meanwhile, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said fishermen operating the 1,788 vessels in the South China Sea had been asked to help in the search for the plane.
He said the fishermen from Kelantan, Terengganu, Perlis, Perak and Penang had been told to report sightings of unusual objects in the sea to the ministry.