A switch from the east to west coast of Peninsular Malaysia will see the multinational search team swing past Singapore en route to resuming their search in the Malacca Strait and Andaman Sea.
The passage of these vessels past Singapore might see foreign nations request access to the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN) Changi Naval Base as part of force sustainment efforts. Ships are typically self-sustaining as far as fresh water is concerned. Tinned, dried and frozen provisions can last for some time, but fresh vegetables degrade after about five days even with refrigeration. The ships would also need to top up on fuel.
TLDM welcome to call at CNB
In the event that the missing plane is found in the South China Sea (SCS) and search activity is concentrated off the east coast of Malaysia, Singapore should consider favourably any requests by Malaysia to use CNB as a pivot point to sustain her search in the SCS. Having Malaysian ships stage out of CNB would save about 18 hours' sailing time from KD Lumut, the Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia's (TLDM, Royal Malaysian Navy) naval base in Perak, to the eastern approaches in the Singapore Strait.
TLDM warships (KD Lekiu, KD Kasturi and KD Terengganu) called at CNB during the Eksesais Malapura naval war games in late February 2014. We should welcome TLDM's presence in CNB again - especially during this difficult time.
Missing Malaysian plane last seen at Strait of Malacca-source
Malaysian authorities have previously said flight MH370 disappeared about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for the Chinese capital Beijing.
At the time it was roughly midway between Malaysia's east coast town of Kota Bharu and the southern tip of Vietnam, flying at 35,000 ft (10,670 metres).
"It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait," the military official, who has been briefed on investigations, told Reuters.
The Strait of Malacca, one of the world's busiest shipping channels, runs along Malaysia's west coast.
Earlier on Tuesday, Malaysia's Berita Harian newspaper quoted air force chief Rodzali Daud as saying the Malaysia Airlines plane was last detected by military radar at 2:40 a.m. on Saturday, near the island of Pulau Perak at the northern end of the Strait of Malacca. It was flying at a height of about 9,000 metres (29,500 ft), he was quoted as saying.
"The last time the flight was detected close to Pulau Perak, in the Melaka Straits, at 2.40 a.m. by the control tower before the signal was lost," the paper quoted Rodzali as saying.
A non-military source familiar with the investigations said the report was being checked.
"This report is being investigated by the DCA (Department of Civil Aviation) and the search and rescue team," the source said. "There are a lot of such reports."
The time given by Rodzali was an hour and 10 minutes after the plane vanished from air traffic control screens over Igari waypoint, midway between Malaysia and Vietnam.
There was no word on what happened to the plane thereafter.
If the reports from the military are verified, it would mean the plane was able to maintain a cruising altitude and flew for about 500 km (350 miles) with its transponder and other tracking systems apparently switched off.
Malaysia has extended the massive search operation for the plane to the Malacca Strait after initially focusing on the South China Sea.
(Additional reporting by Anuradha Raghu and Stuart Grudgings; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Alex Richardson)