HMS Echo

The UK Royal Navy’s multi-role survey vessel, HMS Echo, is heading towards the Indian Ocean from the Persian Gulf to join search efforts for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The move comes after the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that two objects were detected by the satellite, which could be related to flight MH370, including a 24m-long piece of debris and the other 5m-long.

Abbott told parliament that the data based on satellite information of objects, potentially related to the search, was received by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa).

"Following specialist analysis of this satellite imagery, two possible objects related to the search have been identified, " Abbott said.

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"The potential debris sighting on satellite images are a ‘credible lead’."

The HMS Echo will join other ships and aircraft of countries including Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and the US to assist in searching the jet that disappeared off radars less than an hour after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March.

Malaysian transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a news conference that the potential debris sighting on satellite images are a ‘credible lead’.

Launched in 2002, HMS Echo has been designed to support a wide range of survey work, including support to submarine and amphibious operations, through the collection of oceanographic and bathymetric (analysis of the ocean, its salinity and sound profile) data.

Image: HMS Echo has been sent to aid the search. Photo: courtesy of Hebster.

Defence Technology