MH370 Third Tripartite Ministerial Meeting
16 April 2015
Senior Ministers from Malaysia, Australia and the People's Republic of China met today to discuss the next steps in the search for MH370.
Malaysian Minister of Transport, Mr Liow Tiong Lai, chaired the meeting with the Australian Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Warren Truss MP, and the Chinese Minister of Transport, Mr Yang Chuantang.
Ministers acknowledged and expressed their appreciation to the nations that have provided assets, expertise and assistance for the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 over the past year.
Ministers also acknowledged the grief and sense of loss felt by the families and friends of those lost on board flight MH370. Ministers recognised the importance of the continuous communication to the Next-of-Kin in line with the governments' commitment to keep the families apprised of the latest developments.
The Ministers were given a detailed briefing on the thorough and rigorous work being undertaken to search for the aircraft. Discussions included details of the technology used in the underwater search, assessment and analysis of data collected, classification of sonar contacts as well as the challenges and risks in the search operations in such a remote and difficult location in extreme depths.
While acknowledging the significant work undertaken to date and that about 40 percent of the current search area is yet to be completed, Ministers acknowledged the importance of continuing the planning for next steps in the search. In this regard, the discussion focused on the recovery arrangements if the aircraft is found as well as the next steps if the aircraft is not found in the current search area of 60,000 square kilometres. Ministers agreed that it is critical to have arrangements in place to enable a timely and effective response for both scenarios.
In the event the aircraft is found and accessible, Ministers agreed to plans for recovery activities, including securing all the evidence necessary for the investigation in accordance with the requirements of Annex 13 to the Chicago Convention.
Should the aircraft not be found within the current search area, Ministers agreed to extend the search by an additional 60,000 square kilometres to bring the search area to 120,000 square kilometres and thereby cover the entire highest probability area identified by expert analysis. Ministers recognise the additional search area may take up to a year to complete given the adverse weather conditions in the upcoming winter months. Upon completion of the additional 60,000 square kilometres, all high probability search areas would have been covered.
Ministers remain committed to bring closure and some peace to the families and loved ones of those on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, recognising the positive and productive nature of the ongoing collaboration. All three countries reiterated their commitments to use best efforts in the search for the aircraft.
Ministers also emphasised that the families of the passengers and crew remain a priority and the governments will continue to provide updates whenever new information is available on the developments and outcomes of the search operations.