The car carrier was on its way from Madagascar to Melbourne when it got a request from Australian authorities to assist in investigating the objects spotted by satellite four days ago in one of the remotest parts of the globe, around 2,500 km (1,500 miles) southwest of Perth.
               
"We've got a request from Australian authorities to search the area, and we will assist as long as needed," said Kristian Olsen, a spokesman at Hoegh Autoliners.
               
The Norwegian shipping association told Reuters the ship was the first one to arrive in the area at 0800 GMT.
               
The larger of the objects measured up to 24 metres (79 ft) long and appeared to be floating on water several thousand metres deep, Australian officials said. The second object was about 5 metres (16 feet) long.
               
No confirmed wreckage from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been found since it vanished from air traffic control screens off Malaysia's east coast early on March 8, less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.
               
Australian officials said the objects were spotted by satellite in one of the remotest parts of the globe, around 2,500 km (1,500 miles) southwest of Perth in the vast oceans between Australia, southern Africa and Antarctica.

The larger of the objects measured up to 24 meters (79 ft), long and appeared to be floating on water several thousand meters deep, they said.

"It's credible enough to divert the research to this area on the basis it provides a promising lead to what might be wreckage from the debris field," Royal Australian Air Force Air Commodore John McGarry told a news conference in Canberra.

No confirmed wreckage from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been found since it vanished from air traffic control screens off Malaysia's east coast early on March 8, less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.

"I can confirm we have a new lead," Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, where the investigation into the missing airliner is based.

Another official in Malaysia said investigators were "hopeful but cautious" about the Australian discovery.

POTENTIAL BREAKTHROUGH

The huge potential breakthrough in an investigation that had appeared to be running out of leads was revealed by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who told parliament the objects had been located with satellite imagery.

"New and credible information has come to light in relation to the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean," Abbott said.

He added that he had already spoken with his Malaysian counterpart, Najib Razak, and cautioned that the objects had yet to be identified.

"The task of locating these objects will be extremely difficult and it may turn out they are not related to the search for MH370," Abbott said.

(JPN/Agencies)

Latest News from World News Desk

Two objects spotted possibly related to missing Malaysian plane MH370: Australian PM

 

 

Melbourne: Australia on Thursday said objects as large as 24-meter-long possibly related to the search for the missing Malaysian plane have been spotted in the southern Indian Ocean, about 2,500 km south-west of Perth.

      

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told the Parliament that he called his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak to relay the "new and credible information" about potential aircraft wreckage.

      

Search teams involving 26 countries are trying to locate Boeing flight MH370, which went missing an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on March 8 with 239 people on board, including five Indians and one Indian-Canadian.

      

"The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has received the information based on satellite imagery of objects possibly related to the search," Abbott said.

      

"Following specialist analysis of this satellite imagery, two possible objects related to the search have been identified," he was quoted as saying by The Australian.

      

Abbott said an Australian Air Force Orion has been sent to locate the objects and three more aircraft will follow this Orion. "They are tasked for more intensive follow up search."

      

"The task of locating these objects will be extremely difficult...and it may be they do not relate to the aircraft," he told the Parliament.

      

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) official John Young said the objects were located in the southern Indian Ocean about 2,500km south-west of Perth on Australia's west coast and the largest one sighted is 24 metres long.

      

"The objects are relatively indistinct. Those who are expert say they are credible sightings," he told reporters.   

 

He said the objects were "probably awash with water and bobbing up and down over the surface".

      

Young said the weather conditions are moderate but poor visibility is hampering the search at the moment.

      

"We have been in this business of doing search and rescue and using sat (satellite) images before and they do not always turn out to be related to the search even if they look good," he cautioned.


In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said, "I can confirm we have a new lead."

      

"Prime Minister Najib Razak had received a call from Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia, informing him that 'two possible objects related to the search' for MH370 had been identified in the Southern Indian Ocean.

      

"At this stage, Australian officials have yet to establish whether these objects are indeed related to the search for MH370," said a statement issued by Hussein.

      

Experts have earlier speculated that the southern maritime corridor is the most likely location for the missing aircraft, pointing out the unlikelihood of the plane passing undetected over nearly a dozen countries.

      

The mystery of the missing plane continued to baffle aviation and security authorities who have so far not succeeded in tracking the aircraft despite deploying hi-tech radar and other gadgets.

      

Australia has been heading the search along a southern arc stretching from the Indonesian coast to the west of Australia. AMSA has said the search zone covers 600,000 square kilometres of ocean and has been plotted using data based on the last satellite relay signals sent by the plane.

      

The search now encompasses an area stretching 7.7 million square kilometres - an area larger than the entire land mass of Australia.