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Two more Chinese warships to join massive search for missing Mh370plane

Two more Chinese warships to join massive search for missing Mh370plane

Beijing has sent two more advanced warships to waters between Malaysia and Vietnam where the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 may have crashed, in what Chinese media have described as the largest Chinese presence in any international maritime search and rescue operation.

The two warships, the 20,000-tonne amphibious landing ship Kunlunshan, and the 7,000-tonne missile destroyer Haikou, are among the most advanced naval vessels that China added to its rapidly growing ocean force in recent years.  They bring to nine the total number of Chinese official and civilian ships already on site or en route to join the massive search for the Boeing 777-200.
The Haikou, a Type-052C missile destroyer, is expected to arrive early Tuesday morning in the waters where the plane is feared to have gone down. It is equipped with one anti-submarine helicopter with advanced maritime search capabilities, according to state media.

The Kunlunshan, one of the three biggest amphibious transport dock ships of the Chinese Navy's South Sea Fleet, also left its base in Zhanjiang city, Guangdong at 5pm on Sunday. Similar to its sister ship Jingggangshan, which was already deployed and en route to join the search, the Kunlunshan is loaded with more than 50 marines, two helicopters, medical personnel, life-saving equipment, underwater detection devices and supplies, said state media.

The Mianyang, a 2,400-tonne missile frigate, arrived in the search zone on Monday morning after it set off from waters near the Spratly Islands on Saturday night. All four naval vessels have participated in joint overseas rescue missions before, including anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden.
China so far has sent four warships, one Coast Guard vessel and three search and rescue ships from the Ministry of Transport to waters between Malaysia and Vietnam. One commercial container ship operated by state-owned shipping giant Cosco, which was sailing in nearby waters, has also voluntarily joined the search mission.

More than 20 aircraft and 40 ships from at least nine nations are now scouring waters between Vietnam and Malaysia, but so far no confirmed wreckage from the plane has been seen or found, despite earlier reports of suspected oil slicks or debris sighted from air.

Meanwhile, a team of 13 Chinese government officials from four ministries are expected to arrive in Kuala Lumpur on Monday evening to coordinate rescue efforts with the Malaysian government and help Chinese family members of MH370 passengers travelling to Malaysia, said state broadcaster CCTV.

The team is led by Guo Shaochun, deputy director of the Foreign Ministry’s consular department. Other team members include officials from the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Transport, and the Civil Aviation Administration.

Some family members of passengers from the missing flight are still waiting to receive their passports and Malaysia visas in Beijing as of Monday morning.

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10-3-2014 15:52

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