KUALA LUMPUR, OCT 14 – After a 216-day search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Chinese vessel Haixun 01 returned to its base port in Shanghai on Sunday. Known for its breakthrough in China’s maritime search and rescue work, the ship was tasked to scour areas that included the Straits of Malacca, Sunda Strait, west of Indonesia and south of the Indian Ocean, having travelled a total 22,371 nautical miles and traversed more than 240,000 square metres of water.
According to reports in the International Business Times, despite the vessel’s successful arrival at its base port, there was no positive news about the missing aircraft. No trace of the aircraft was found, neither wreckage nor any pertinent sign of the aircraft that authorities believe to have submerged into the Indian Ocean. According to the China Maritime Search and Rescue Centre, the crew were unyielding despite severe weather conditions at sea.
Zhang Liang, who was in charge of surveying and detection, said the crew remained responsible and diligent with their duties, utilising the technologies, deep-water equipment and satellites in search for the missing flight. China had deployed the largest number of forces and resources for the search, deploying a total of 19 ships, eight helicopters and five fixed-wing planes to search for the missing Boeing 777.
Ma Leidong, the commander of the ship’s search force, said China would continue to render support until the plane was found. “The next step for the deep-sea search will be carried out by private contracted companies. “The China Maritime Search and Rescue Centre and Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre will issue regular updates,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Go Phoenix began its assessment of the priority search area on Oct 6 and was expected to conduct an underwater search in a span of 12 days. Another vessel, Fugro Discovery, arrived at Freemantle Port on Oct 5 and would conduct the underwater bathymetric survey, estimated to be completed by the end of this month.
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