Three Day Disappearance of Ship Searching for Missing Malaysian Airlines Plane Fuels Conspiracy Theories
The ship searching for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 aroused suspicion this month by disappearing from tracking screens for three days after turning off its own satellite monitoring system with no immediate explanation.
U.S.-based company Ocean Infinity had been hired by the Malaysian government to search for the missing plane in early January of 2018. The search vessel, the Seabed Constructor, set off from Durban, South Africa, on January 3rd, and began its search on the 22nd. The ship turned off its Automatic Identification System (AIS) with no warning or explanation 10 days later, on February 1st. The AIS came back online after three days, on February 4th.
The ship's sudden disappearance had family members of those aboard the missing flight concerned that information about the plane's status or location was being withheld.
“I found the development quite odd, and worrying,” said KS Narendran, who had a relative aboard MH370. “If this silence and becoming invisible was intentional, to ward off suspicion, a satisfactory explanation is due. If it was for other reasons, then in the interests of transparency, we ought to be told what caused it."
“There are no journalists and no family members on board the search ship," he continued. "I wish there were some ... We watch on in good faith. I hope ongoing official disclosure is of such a high order that there is little room for speculation, controversy or a whiff of conspiracy.”
Theories circulated online regarding why the ship had removed itself from supervision; including that it had detoured to salvage a large chest from a shipwreck discovered in 2015, or that the wreckage of MH370 had been discovered but was being kept secret for clandestine reasons.
Ocean Infinity responded to the allegations by saying that they were investigating "points of interest," and didn't want to raise any false hopes.
“As highlighted in the weekly report there were a couple of points of interest identified last week. These turned out to be of no significance," a spokesperson said. “Ocean Infinity did not want to give the impression they had found the wreckage.”
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went missing in March of 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia, to Beijing Capital International Airport in China.
Various conspiracy theories have been discussed since the plane vanished; everything from cyber hijacking to the intervention of a rogue state like North Korea to extraterrestrial interference has been used by conspiracy theorists to explain MH370's disappearance.