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Navy Pulls P-8s and Cargo Ship From Search for Missing Malaysian Airliner

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USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE 14) refuels the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Perth (III) on April 12. US Navy Photo

USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE 14) refuels the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Perth (III) on April 12. US Navy Photo

The U.S. Navy is reassigning two P-8 Poseidon surveillance planes and a Military Sealift Command (MSC) cargo ship from the search for the missing Flight 370 Malaysian Airlines 777 sometime this week, the service said in a Wednesday statement. “The decision to detach the P-8s was made in close coordination with the governments of Australia and Malaysia in view of the diminishing possibility debris will be found on the surface of the water,” read the statement. The Navy will continue to aid the Australians with use of the service contracted Bluefin-21 — an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to look for the plane that went missing on March 8, according to the statement. The Bluefin-21 has searched more than 400 square kilometers focused on an area near a second series of pings found in the region. The two planes — temporarily assigned to Perth, Australia — were part of the more than month long effort along with — most recently — Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo and ammunition ship, USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE-14). Other U.S. assets used in the more than month long search for the plane and its 227 passengers include the destroyers USS Pinckney (DDG-91) and USS Kidd (DDG-100) and the command and control staff of 7th Fleet aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), the service said. “At one point 26 countries were working together in close coordination to achieve a common goal,” said Vice Adm. Robert L. Thomas, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet in the statement. “To see such significant depth of international cooperation coming together for one mission is unprecedented and highly encouraging for the security and stability of the region.”