KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 – The Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has been instructed to discuss with British satellite company Inmarsat on the release of the latter’s raw data for public consumption. Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said this was done in light of the recent demands by the next-of-kin of missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 for the Inmarsat ‘raw data’. “This is consistent with our stand for greater transparency and prioritising the interests of the family members of those on board MH370,” he said in statement in Kuala Lumpur, Monday.
The Chinese next-of-kin of passengers on board the missing aircraft had suggested that the Malaysian authorities purchase the raw data from Inmarsat. One of the relatives suggested the purchased data could be shared and made available globally so that it could be analysed by aviation experts. On a smiliar note, Hishammuddin noted that a team of technical experts had convened in Canberra to discuss and refine the satellite data, calculations and analysis which have been made available by Inmarsat. The hunt for the missing Boeing 777 aircraft has entered the tenth week since its disappearance on March 8.
The plane with 239 people aboard including 12 crew members vanished on March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A search operation for the aircraft is underway in waters off western Australia, in the southern Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, Hishammuddin said that a team of hydrographic experts from Malaysia, China and Australia had agreed to conduct an extensive bathymetric survey in the southern Indian Ocean. “This survey will be conducted by the Chinese navy vessel, Zhu Kezhen (872) and it is scheduled to sail to the survey area on Wednesday, weather permitting,” he added.
In another development, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) clarified Monday that it had not ‘abandoned’ the families of the crew of its missing Flight MH370 who have sought legal help. In a statement in Kuala Lumpur, the carrier explained that certain crew member families had retained foreign lawyers to represent their interests. “And these foreign lawyers have directed that MAS cease from any further direct communication with their clients, and that MAS direct all further communications regarding these crew member families to them,” it said.
MAS noted that as for family members without legal representation, the airline had been in contact with them via the Family Support Centre (FSC) and had been providing them with updates from the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) and the Malaysian government. “MAS would like to reiterate that it’ll continue to offer the same assistance to all families of crew members, but communications with families represented by foreign lawyers will be through their appointed lawyers as they have directed,” it added. It was reported that the family members of seven Flight MH370 c