It's exactly 25 days since Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 went missing and a seven-nation search effort for the aircraft in the Indian Ocean has yet to yield any results.
All eyes are on Australia, which is leading search efforts at an area some 1,850km west of Perth, while the Malaysian front is today expected to be relatively quiet.
Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who is also Defense Minister has departed for Hawaii for a meeting of Asean and US defense officials today while Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak will leave for Perth tomorrow to observe the search operation.
Searchers are hoping to find the first piece of debris from Flight MH370 as it will be essential to narrow down the search area before commencing undersea search.
Follow us as we bring the latest updates and coverage for the search of Flight MH370:
Spanish ambassador expresses sympathy
8.57pm: Spain has expressed its sympathy to Malaysia over the Malaysia Airlines MH370 tragedy, reports national news agency Bernama.
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia says MH370 was the first matter raised by Spain's ambassador to Malaysia, Maria Bassols Delgado, during their meeting today.
"She said Spain expressed its sympathy over the tragedy of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370. They also encouraged Malaysia to resolve the problem and to ignore the cynics," he is quoted as saying.
Petition against MAS dismissed
7.32pm: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) says it has been advised that a petition filed on behalf of one of the passengers on board the missing MH370 flight has been dismissed by order of a US court.
MAS announced this to Bursa Malaysia today. The petition was recently filed in a US court against the national carrier as well as the Boeing Company, an aircraft manufacturer.
IGP: Media reports may jeopardise probe
7.23pm: Inspector general of police regrets that there are still certain parties who continue to speculate the fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 even to the point of tarnishing the name of pilot Capt Zaharie Ahmad Shah's family.
According to Bernama, Khalid Abu Bakar says the speculation would not only embarrass the family but could also jeopardise investigations into the incident.
"There is too much speculation so we have to be very careful when we read. Even his daughter has denied (one media report), yet there are media (foreign) who are unethical and intentionally write things which are not correct.
"If there is anything I will make an announcement, but we have to understand that this is being investigated and we are afraid that it could jeopardise our investigation," he tells reporters in Kota Bharu earlier today.
Objects found 'not related' to MH370
5.35pm: Chinese ships have thus far checked out suspicious objects that were spotted in 11 locations during aerial searches in the Indian Ocean, reports China's news agency Xinhua.
However, Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 captain Jiang Long says upon verification, none of them were found to be related to the missing Flight MH370.
M'sia 'painstakingly' working to find plane
5.20pm: MCA secretary-general Ong Ka Chuan agrees that the Malaysian government should apologise to families of those on board Flight MH370, however, only "if it is found that the government had acted insufficiently after all investigations have been completed".
"We fully understand the torment experienced by the families of the Chinese nationals who were on board MH370... We hope that the next-of-kin will have confidence in the Malaysian government in locating the missing aircraft and the cause of incident.
“All relevant authorities are painstakingly working with other nations to find out the truth,” he says in a statement today.
Press briefing called off
5pm: However, here are some highlights from a press statement sent by the Transport Ministry:
A closed-door meeting will be held for families in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow. It will be led by Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and MAS, while technical experts from Malaysia, China and Australia will be participating.
(However, Britain's the Guardian earlier reported that British experts - satellite company Inmarsat and UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) - will not be taking part in a technical briefing. Inmarsat has said it was not invited)
The ministry releases the full communications transcript between flight MH370 and KL air traffic control.
It says there is "no indication" of anything abnormal in the transcript.
It explains the transcript was initially held as part of police investigation. Police are still working to confirm MAS' earlier claim the sign off was made by co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid.
- They maintain up until Flight MH370 left military primary radar coverage, it's movements were consistent with "deliberate action" by someone on the plane. Read full story here.
4.30pm: The daily press briefing on the status of the ongoing search for MAS Flight MH370 is cancelled, Bernama reports.
This comes as acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who normally leads the daily sessions, is attending a meeting of Asean and US defense officials in Hawaii in his capacity as defence minister.
50pct gives nod to gov't's crisis handling
4.15pm: Pollster Merdeka Center finds majority of Malaysians are upset at how Putrajaya is handling the MH370 crisis.
The survey finds 50 percent of respondents to be dissatisfied at the government’s crisis management, while 43 percent say they are satisfied.
The question was posed to 513 respondents between the period of March 13 to March 20.
Read the full story here.
Ships experiencing heavy seas, winds
4.04pm: The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) reports that ships at the search site are experiencing heavy seas and strong winds. However, the weather is expected to ease in the next 24 hours.
Meanwhile, it reports that the multi-purpose Australian Defence Maritime Services (DMS) vessel Seahorse Standard is on its way to beef up search efforts. However, it is only expected to arrive in five days time.
Info used 'very inexact science'
3.08pm: The head of the search for Flight MH370 Angus Houston calls the information investigators described as the "most credible lead" in determining the current search area in the Indian Ocean as "very inexact science".
“We don't know what altitude the aircraft was travelling at. We don't really know the speed it was going,” Houston was quoted as saying by Sydney Morning Herald.
Houston says countries may need to start thinking of the next step if no wreckage of Flight MH370 is found.
“Inevitably, if we don't find wreckage on the surface, we are eventually going to have to, probably, in consultation with everybody who has a stake in this, review what we do next," he said.
He compares the ill-fated flight to the loss of HMAS Sydney which took 60 years to locate.
Houston, who is former Australian Chief of Air Force and spent much of his career as a search and rescue helicopter pilot, heads the newly-created Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC).
1.55pm: Australia will deploy a flying air traffic controller over the Indian Ocean soon to prevent mid-air collision among the aircraft from seven nations that are searching for the missing Flight MH370, reports the Associated Press (AP).
The arrival of the modified Boeing 737, dubbed the E-7A Wedgetail, is equipped with advanced radar and "will assist us with de-conflicting the airspace in the search area," Australian defence chief Angus Houston was quoted as saying.
This follows the creation of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) by Australia last Sunday to coordinate various bodies in an increasingly complex and crowded search effort.
The JACC announced the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) has determined a search area of 120,000 square kilometres for today.
'We can't let another plane simply disappear'
11.10am: The International Air Transport Association (Iata) calls on governments to adopt security standards set out by International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) after two passengers with fake passports boarded missing MAS Flight MH370.
"It costs the airlines millions of dollars every year to provide API (advance passenger information) to some 60 governments. I’ve often wondered whether they were using it," Iata director-general Tony Tyler tells the Iata Ops Conference in Kuala Lumpur this morning.
On Iata's part, Tyler says a panel of experts will convene on improving the world's aircraft tracking system.
"Air France 447 brought similar issues to light a few years ago and some progress was made. That must be accelerated. We cannot let another aircraft simply disappear," he says.
Read more here.
SAR hit by low visibility
10.59am: According to the new Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), formed to oversee search and recovery (SAR) operations for MH370 in the south Indian Ocean, today's operations will comprise 10 aircraft and nine ships from Australia, Malaysia, China, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan and the United States.
However, search is expected to be hindered by low visibility due to poor weather.
10.02am: To recap, Australia, Malaysia, US, China, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand have either ships or aircraft looking at the search site which spans 319,000 square kilometre, sightly smaller than the size of Malaysia.
Even though search at the latest site, which began on March 28, is aided by better weather and satellite findings of possible debris by various countries, search efforts are being hampered as it is also an area with higher volume of ocean trash.
Searchers have fished out several objects from the area but these have thus far found not to be related to Flight MH370.
Back in Malaysia, several Chinese families have arrived from Beijing since March 30 to put pressure on Putrajaya as search efforts remain fruitless.
Poor coordination hampered search
9.40am: Searchers had looked in the wrong place after operations shifted to the Indian Ocean due to poor coordination among investigators, reports the Wall Street Journal.
"One team's calculations of the plane's likely speed and rate of fuel consumption were based on radar data and aircraft-performance modelling.
"Another team worked separately for at least several days using satellite data to calculate the plane's likely trajectory, according to two people familiar with the matter," says the report.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had on March 24 announced Flight MH370 "ended in the southern Indian Ocean".
However, by March 28 the search area was abruptly shifted 1,100km northeast of the old search site.
Problem with Hisham's 'no problem' claim
9.01am: Indonesia is contradicting acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein's (right) claim yesterday that Indonesian families had "no problems" with MH370 information disseminated by Malaysia.
Tempo reports the Indonesian special envoy had yesterday specifically asked the Malaysian government to improve on the information given to Indonesian families.
"Among the matter we conveyed to the Malaysian government is the family's request for clearer and more periodic information," the envoy chief Wiwiek Setyawati Firman is quoted as saying.
Read full story here.
Just 5 days left before black box battery dies
8am: The clock ticks as there is just five days left for search teams to find the plane before the black box battery runs out and it ceases to emit 'pings'.
According to Australia's news.com.au, the black box emits one 'ping' per second for 30 days, which can be picked up by sonar and acoustic-locating equipment.
However, Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has vowed that search for the missing plane will not stop even after the black box battery runs out after the 30-day mark.
He says there are other means investigators and search parties can employ to locate the black box.
US petition dismissed
7.30am: A US judge dismisses a law firm's motion to obtain evidence of possible design and manufacturing defects from Boeing and MAS in connection with the disappearance of flight MH370.
Reuters further reports that on Monday, Cook County Judge Kathy Flanagan in Illinois had threatened to impose sanctions against Chicago-based Ribbeck Law Chartered, citing previous instances where it had "improperly brought" petitions, such as last year's Asiana Airlines plane crash in San Francisco.
Read full story here.
Sea trials of equipment carried out
6.00am: The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) reports that the Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Ocean Shield has departed for the search area. However, transit is expected to take several days.
It had conducted sea trials at Cockburn Sound, an inlet of the Indian Ocean off Western Australia, yesterday to test search equipment loaded on it.
The vessel is fitted with a towed pinger locator and a Bluefin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), provided by the US Navy.
The Beijing-bound Boeing 777-200ER aircraft went missing not long after taking off from KL International Airport in the early hours of March 8, with 12 crew members and 227 passengers.
Authorities have determined the plane intentionally made a turn-back and altered its course shortly after cutting communications with tower controllers for unknown reasons.
- Its whereabouts is now narrowed to the southern Indian Ocean after employing "new analysis" methods to deduce the location based on six pings the aircraft sent out to British satellite communications provider Inmarsat's satellite.
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