PERTH/BEIJING, March 30 (Xinhua) -- A total of seven Chinese ships convened Sunday in waters west of Australia's Perth to coordinate their search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Other ships gathered include transport dock Kunlunshan, supply ship Qiandaohu, missile destroyer Haikou, which will be responsible for the search in the southern part of the newly-designated area, while Haixun 01, Nanhaijiu 115 and Donghaijiu 101 will search in the northern patch, Xinhua was told.
Earlier in the day, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced former Defense Force Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston will lead a new Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC) based in Perth.
Abbott said Houston is "an individual of enormous experience and great skill who has already served his country with distinction."
The new JACC will work with key international stakeholders including the families, friends and international media. Abbott said that the JACC will ensure that the search is reinforced by strong liaison with all the relevant stakeholders.
The JACC will also provide a single contact point for families to gain up-to-date information and travel assistance including visa services, accommodation advice, interpreter services and counseling, a statement said Sunday.
In addition, Abbott reaffirmed that the Australian government has already announced that visa fees will be waived for the affected families.
"This multi-country search is a powerful example of international cooperation at a time of adversity," he said.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said Sunday that the search for MH370 will continue on Sunday in an area about 1,850 km west of Perth, with a focus on an area of about 319,000 square km based on refined analysis by international air crash investigators.
A total of 10 planes and eight ships were planned to participate in Sunday's search, AMSA said.
They include three Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orions, a Japanese P3 Orion, a Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force Ilyushin IL-76, a South Korean P3 Orion, a U.S. Navy P8 Poseidon, two Malaysian Air Force C-130 Hercules and one civil jet acting as a communications relay, said AMSA.
The ANZAC class frigate HMAS Toowoomba left Perth Satruday evening and is due to arrive in the search area in about three days. The ADV Ocean Shield, an Australian warship, is scheduled to depart from Perth later Sunday after being fitted with a black box detector and an autonomous underwater vehicle.
All ships in the search area are being tasked to locate and identify the objects sighted by aircraft over the past two days.
Weather in the search area is forecast to worsen Sunday with light showers and low cloud, though search operations are expected to continue.
7 Chinese ships convene west of Perth to coordinate search
ABOARD JINGGANGSHAN, March 30 (Xinhua) -- A total of seven Chinese ships convened Sunday in waters west of Australia's Perth to coordinate their search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
They are tasked with a total search area of 320,000 square nautical miles, according to a Xinhua correspondent aboard one of the vessels Jingangshan. Full story