Chinese vessels set out for S. Indian Ocean, multinational search for suspicious debris resumes
                 English.news.cn | 2014-03-21 11:13:51 | Editor: Zhu Ningzhu

AUSTRALIA-PERTH-CHINESE ICEBREAKER-XUELONG-MISSING JET-SEARCH (CN)
The Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, awaits orders for the search of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at the port of Perth, a southwestern port city of Australia, March 20, 2014. Xuelong will set off to the waters where suspected debris of the missing flight MH370 has been found, according to the State Oceanic Administration of China. (Xinhua/Tang Zhijian)

BEIJING, March 21 (Xinhua) -- More Chinese vessels will set out for the southern Indian Ocean to search for the missing Malaysian jetliner, while the multinational search operation for suspicious debris of MH370 resumes on Friday.

Chinese rescue vessels Haixun 01 and Nanhaijiu 101 will sail off to the search area in the southern Indian Ocean, more than 3,000 km southwest off Perth, Australia, where possible MH370 debris was found on Thursday through satellite imagery.

Haixun 31 and Nanhaijiu 115 will also head for the southern Indian Ocean and three more Chinese naval ships have already moved toward the suspected waters.

Meanwhile, China Maritime Search and Rescue Center has contacted the State Oceanic Administration of China in order to send Chinese icebreaker for Antarctic research Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, now anchored in Perth, to the search area as soon as possible.

On Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott held a phone conversation over possible objects from the missing MH370.

Xi said many countries, including Australia, participated in search and rescue and China thanked Australia for its role in the operation along the southern corridor, a search area stretching from Indonesia deep into the southern Indian Ocean.

Although search and rescue is undergoing difficulties due to the complicated circumstances in relevant waters, Xi said, full efforts should be made as long as there is still a gleam of hope.

He voiced the hope that Australia and other relevant parties would continue to do their utmost in the search and inform China of developments as soon as possible.

Abbott said Australia had dispatched aircraft and warships to the sea area in the southern Indian Ocean and would continue to make every effort in the search and rescue and in investigation.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Defense Department on Thursday reaffirmed that the United States will continue with full effort to search for MH370, and Pentagon made it a priority to try to find it.

"We're putting as much effort into it across the scope of our capabilities as -- as is needed," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

"I think the Navy and 7th Fleet have been doing a terrific job keeping people informed of what the U.S. Navy is doing in the search," he said, adding that the search effort and the investigation are being led by the Malaysian government.

The U.S. 7th Fleet spokesman William Marks told Xinhua on Thursday in an email interview that the U.S. Navy P-8, which flied from Perth to the suspected sea areas, did not see any debris associated with aircraft wreckage.

The spokesman said the P-3 on Thursday shifted its focus south, searching in vicinity of the Cocos Islands, adding that it will be a no-flying day for the P-3 on Friday for routine maintenance.

Also in an email interview, a DigitalGlobe spokesperson told Xinhua on Thursday that the company provided the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) with the satellite images of possible MH370 debris.

The satellite images were captured on March 16 by the company's WorldView-2 satellite at a resolution of approximately 50 cm.

The multinational search for the Boeing 777-200 aircraft, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, has entered its 14th day since it mysteriously disappeared from radar in the early hours of March 8.

Australia said Friday that the bad weather has still limited visibility of the search area for locating the suspected debris, and the search mission in the southern Indian Ocean would last several days.

"It is a large area and the weather is difficult (to search)," Andrea Hayward-Maher, Media Liaison Officer of the AMSA, told Xinhua.

Search planes from Australia, the United States and New Zealand will continue the hunt on Friday, while merchant boats are also heading to the 23,000 square km search zone.

According to the latest release of the AMSA, five aircrafts will be involved in Friday's search for MH370.

A RAAF P3 Orion has already departed for the search area, and a civil Gulfstream jet, two more RAAF P3 Orion and the U.S. Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft will depart for the search area later.

In addition, a Norwegian ship has arrived in the search zone on Thursday night and another merchant ship is due to arrive on Friday night, Andrea said.

Related:

24-meter-long suspicious object sighted: AMSA

CANBERRA, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said on Thursday that two objects possibly related to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight have been spotted, with the large one about 24 meters long.

"The objects are relatively indistinct. The indication to me is of objects that are of a reasonable size and probably awash with water and bobbing up and down over the surface," said AMSA official John Young.Full story

U.S. searching aircraft picks up radar signature of large object -- onboard reporter

CANBERRA, March 20 (Xinhua) -- A reporter on board a U.S. P-8 aircraft searching for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 said Thursday that the crew have picked up radar signals of a large object in the Indian Ocean possibly linked to the missing plane.

The radar is getting "hits of significant size" and the crew are trying to get visuals on hits, U.S. broadcaster ABC said in a tweet quoting correspondent David Wright.Full story

Australia identifies two possible objects related to search for missing plane: Malaysian official

KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak received a call from his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott at 10:00 am this morning, informing him that "two possible objects related to the search for" MH370 had been identified in the Southern Indian Ocean, Malaysian official said Thursday in a statement.

"The Australian High Commissioner has also briefed me on the situation," Hishammuddin Hussein, minister of defense and acting minister of transport of Malaysia, said in the statement.Full story

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