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Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and the search for MH370

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is Australia's national agency responsible for maritime safety, protection of the marine environment, and maritime aviation search and rescue.

On 17 March 2014 the Australian Government accepted responsibility for initial search operations in the southern part of the Indian Ocean. The search for MH370 was coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

From 18 March to 28 April 2014, this search scanned 4.7 million square kilometres of ocean and involved 21 aircraft that conducted 345 individual flights over 3177 hours, as well as 19 ships from eight nations.[1]

On 28 April 2014, the surface search for MH370 coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) was concluded and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) assumed responsibility for conducting the underwater search for the aircraft.[2]


Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing on Saturday, 8 March 2014 (Day 1).

The announcement that Australia would be coordinating a search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean was made on Monday, 17 March 2014 (Day 10), as below:-

Monday 17 March 2014

Australia is coordinating a search in the Southern Indian Ocean for the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

The search operation follows discussions between Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA’s) Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) will coordinate the search operation in Australia’s Search and Rescue Region.

A search area is being developed based on information made available to AMSA on Monday, and being refined in conjunction with other agencies.

The initial search is planned to occur in daylight in the Southern Indian Ocean west of Perth.

An Australian Defence Force aircraft located at Cocos (Keeling) Islands and already assisting Malaysia with the search for MH 370 will relocate to Perth later on Monday or early on Tuesday, Australian Western Standard Time (AWST).

AMSA is liaising with the Australian Defence Force regarding the availability of additional aircraft capable of operating at long distance into the Southern Ocean.

The aircraft involved in the search will operate from Royal Australian Air Force Base Pearce, near Perth.

AMSA will provide media updates when further information is available.

Source: Search operation for Malaysian airlines aircraft—update 1

Documentation and Websites

The surface search coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority is well documented, but on two websites:-

  1. Australian Maritime Safety Authority website (
  2. From Monday, 31 March 2014 to Monday, 28 April 2014

    The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) was established on Monday, 31 March 2014 and AMSA's communications to media, government agencies and diplomatic posts were redirected via the JACC.[3]
    Note: The JACC website has been archived and is now available at

    The surface search for MH370 coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) concluded on Monday, 28 April 2014.

AMSA and flight MH370

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) was part of a larger interagency response to the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, and the subsequent search in the southern Indian Ocean. Participating agencies included the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Department of Defence, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.[4]

  1. The data behind the search for MH370, Geoscience Australia. Note: the end date has been changed from 29 April to 28 April to be consistent with the quote from the ATSB.
  2. The Operational Search for MH370, Australian Transport Safety Bureau, 3 October 2017 Executive Summary
  3. 31 March—The JACC becomes operational, AMSA,
  4. Search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370