Scouring the sea: A file photo of the ship HMAS Perth transiting through the southern Indian Ocean as an Orion P-3K from the Royal New Zealand Air Force searches overhead for debris from the missing Flight MH370. - AFP
PETALING JAYA: The new phase in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 will include assets such as multi-beam echo sounders and the Prosas towed side scan sonar, said Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
The Defence Minister said the assets, which would be used as the Government’s furnished equipment, would be deployed for the bathymetric survey and the search of the sea floor.
“Chairman of the Asset Deployment Committee Datuk Rahim Bakri led a delegation to Canberra to discuss and coordinate the arrangements for Malaysia’s participation in this phase of the search operation,” he said in a statement yesterday.
On the new phase, he said an expert satellite working group had been working for eight weeks and they had reviewed and refined all existing information to define the search zone along the arc in the southern Indian Ocean.
Hishammuddin explained that the refinement of the search area involved the expertise of Australia’s Transport Safety Bureau, China’s Civil Aviation Administration and Aircraft Accident Investigation Department, the United Kingdom’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch, the United States’ National Transportation and Safety Board and Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation.
He revealed that the priority was now focused on an area of up to 60,000sq km within the new search area where the aircraft last communicated with the satellite.
“This area is further south along the arc based on the calculations carried out by the expert satellite working group,” he said.
Hishammuddin said extremely difficult calculations had to be performed on specialised satellite communications information to refine the search area due to the unprecedented scale and complexity of the search operation.
Hishammuddin also announced that Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainudin, who is the chairman of the Next-of-Kin Committee, would lead a delegation of all four Chairs of the Ministerial Sub-Committees and other senior officials to China today.
“This meeting is primarily aimed at updating our Chinese counterparts on the latest efforts at the tripartite level and Malaysia’s contribution,” he said.