The government has called back navy and Coast Guard Administration ships sent to search part of the South China Sea for signs of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday, one day after Malaysia said it no longer believes the missing plane will be found in that area.
Along with a Chengkung-class frigate and Lafayette-class frigate from the navy and two coast guard patrol vessels, a C-130 transport plane will no longer be sent out to help with the search, the ministry said in a statement.
“The Malaysian government has not decided on the next move in the search for the missing plane, so our frigates and coast guard vessels will return home first,” the ministry said.
Ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said that the ministry will consider how it can best participate in the international search-and-rescue once Malaysia announces its next move in the search for the plane, which disappeared on March 8 with 227 passengers aboard, including one Taiwanese.
The ministry remains committed to helping in the search, he said.
The ministry began sending out the C-130 plane on a daily basis to help find the missing aircraft starting on Monday last week, when the flight was still believed to have crashed into the ocean. Authorities now believe its disappearance and apparent divergence from its planned route were intentional decisions.
The plane disappeared from radar screens and lost contact with air traffic controllers in the early hours of March 8, shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing.