Aviation expert Neil Hansford says Malaysia's persistent refusal to share details of the cargo manifest of the missing MH370 is hampering efforts to find the aircraft.
Australia said Monday that French satellite data indicating floating objects possibly linked to missing Flight MH370 related to an area outside the current search zone, while admitting to "clutching" at every piece of new information.
However, as the search for the plane and the 239 on board enters its third week, concerns are mounting that the Malaysian government is not providing crucial information that could assist the Australian-led search in the southern Indian Ocean.
Hansford, chairman of Strategic Aviation Solutions, said the Malaysian government's decision not to publish the cargo manifest from flight MH370 suggests they are not being fully transparent.
“To me, there is no reason why they wouldn’t declare the cargo manifest unless you’ve got something to hide,” he said.
“There is no reason you wouldn’t have given it to AMSA (the Australian Maritime Safety Authority) on the first day of the search.”
Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein holds up the note that contained information about the Chinese satellite sighting in the southern Indian Ocean. Photo: AFP/Getty.
The manifest, which would identify what kind of cargo was on board the Boeing 777, would give the search and resuce operation of identifying objects that could be related to the missing plane.
AMSA has requested the cargo manifest from Malaysia Airlines but authorities refused to supply the information to Australian authorities, insisting that the document is in the hands of Malaysian police, who are conducting their own investigation.
Flight Lieutenant Jason Nichols on board a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion. Photo: Getty.
We're clutching at any MH370 lead: Truss
The search for possible debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight is being widened after a French satellite provided new leads.
Malaysia's transport ministry announced late on Sunday it had received pictures of possible aircraft wreckage from French authorities, which had been passed to Australian authorities leading the search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.
Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss says the French satellite images fall in a completely different location to those released by China and Australia, which have been a major focus of the search.
The French images focus on an area about 850km north of the current search area, which is 2500 kilometres southwest of Perth, he said.
"That's not in the area that had been identified as the most likely place where the aircraft may have entered the sea," he told ABC radio on Monday.
"But having said all that we've got to check out all the options.
"We're just, I guess, clutching at whatever little piece of information comes along to try and find a place where we might be able to concentrate the efforts."
The Australian-led operation to find debris proved "fruitless" on Sunday, Mr Truss said.
He warned of deteriorating weather in the search zone but downplayed the likely impact of Tropical Cyclone Gillian, which is expected to track at least 1000km north of the search area.
"Clearly it won't be cyclonic when it gets down into the freezing waters that we're dealing with this search," Mr Truss said.
"But certainly it could stir up less favourable weather."