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3 priorities determined during transition phase of MH370 search: Malaysian minister

Editor: zhenglimin 丨Xinhua

05-15-2014 21:21 BJT

Full coverage: Malaysia Airlines Plane Bound for Beijing Goes Missing


KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said here Thursday that three main priorities had been determined during the transition phase of the search for the missing plane.

He said this was agreed upon by Malaysia, Australia and China during the Tripartite Ministerial Meeting held recently.

The three main priorities were to re-analyze all data to verify a more accurate search area, to conduct a bathymetric survey involving an extensive mapping of the seabed, and to conduct the search operation by identifying and deploying the relevant towed and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) required for the terrain, the minister said, adding that the bathymetric survey and deep water search should be seamless.

Hishammuddin said the three countries also agreed to hold weekly conferences via video teleconferencing between their representatives from May 19 to discuss the latest developments of the search operation.

As to the asset deployment, he said the three countries were jointly finalizing the acquisition process for the specific assets which would be required for the new phase of the search. But prior to that, a comprehensive bathymetric survey would be carried out to facilitate the search, he added.

Hishammuddin said the Tripartite Meeting also confirmed that procurement arrangements for the use of commercial contractors would be undertaken by Australia, in consultation with Malaysia. During the procurement process, Malaysia and China would be consulted and briefings would be given at each step of the process, he added.

With regards to the arrangements of the families of those onboard the missing plane, he said the three nations had agreed that "in the event of confirmation of the final resting place of MH370, or identification of debris related to MH370, it was agreed that any visit will take place between two to four weeks upon confirmation."

On the technical aspect, the minister said the investigation work would be conducted by an independent, competent and credible team in accordance with Annex 13 -- Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, the Chicago Convention.

Hishammuddin said the Malaysian cabinet had agreed on setting up a specialized Communication, Coordination and Media committee to ensure the release of timely and transparent information.

Moreover, he said as the negotiation process about further details of the operation were expected to last for the next one to two months, a special team would be sent by Malaysia to Canberra to coordinate any aspects related to the operations between Malaysia and Australia.

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