MH370News:2014/Day 166

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Day 166: Wednesday, 20 August 2014

News Summary

Media Statements

Wednesday, August 20, 08:00 PM GMT +0800 MH370 Press Briefing by Hishammuddin Hussein Minister Of Defence

Today marks Day 165 in the search for MH370.

While our nation is still coping with the grief and shock of the recent MH17 tragedy, we can assure you that the passengers and families of MH370 have not left our hearts. Words mean little but the families and friends of those on board MH370 will forever remain in our thoughts and prayers. We cannot even begin to understand the pain and anguish that they are going through. But we will do all we can to ease their burdens and help them to find closure.

Today, the Cabinet has discussed the next phase of the search which involves us looking at the issue of cost sharing between Australia and Malaysia. It is important to note that Cabinet appreciates and is thankful for Australia’s contribution thus far in the search efforts for MH370. We are also thankful to the Chinese government in their commitment to the trilateral agreement that has been established.

Dato’ Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Minister of Transport, Dato Hamzah Zainudin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chair of the Next of Kin Committee and Dato’ Rahim Bakri, Deputy Minister of Defence and Chair of the Asset Deployment Committee will be heading to Canberra, Australia next week. The delegation will be attending a Tripartite meeting between Malaysia, Australia and China. In addition, the Malaysian delegation will also sign a Memorandum of Understanding between Malaysia and Australia that has been approved by both Governments.

On the Asset Deployment front, the KD Mutiara has encountered a starboard engine problem. KD Mutiara is currently on its way to Jakarta to evaluate the extent of the damages and to undergo repairs. We will follow closely the developments of the work undertaken.

The Bunga Mas 6 (BM6) which has been actively present for the past 4 months in the search area ever since the surface search was carried out is currently on its way back to Malaysia after completing its task. BM6 departed Fremantle on the 16th of August.

However, it is important to note that Malaysia’s participation in the search efforts will always continue. Contracted assets will be deployed as Malaysian Government Furnished Equipment for the search.

PETRONAS together with DEFTECH and Phoenix International will deploy a Prosas Side Scan Sonar (Towed Synthetic Aperture Sonar) which will be mounted on the GO Phoenix mother vessel to join the search and recovery works for MH370. The vessel will depart in the first week of September to the search site to undertake the pursuant sub surface search after the bathymetric analysis.

With regards to search area, ATSB is continuing refinement works with the MH370 Strategy Search Group (SSG) which consists of members from the NTSB Australia, Boeing, AAIB UK, Inmarsat, Thales DSTO in narrowing down the search location of MH370.

Let me also take this opportunity to personally address the next of kins of MH370. I can assure you that we remain committed in the search for your loved ones. Malaysia, together with Australia and China continue to do our utmost and our top priority remains with the ongoing search of the missing MH370. Indeed, this is a concerted effort between our three nations and we stand together in facing this task to find the missing airplane.

Note: Hishamuddin Hussein stated that "Today marks Day 165 in the search for MH370". However, his calculation was incorrect. 20th August 2014 was actually Day 166.