HMS Echo has joined HMS Tireless in standing down from the search for the signal from the black box of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
The move comes after the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that the search for the missing Malaysian aircraft is now moving into a new phase.
Survey ship HMS Echo and submarine HMS Tireless played an important role in the hunt for the black box signal by using their specialist sonar capabilities.
But with the Australian command assessing that there is no prospect of further acoustic detections associated with the aircraft’s black box, HMS Tireless and HMS Echo have both been stood down.
The UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “The search for the black box signal has been an extremely challenging operation and, while we all hoped for a faster and more conclusive result, I am very proud of the contribution British forces have been able to make as part of this complex international effort.”
“HMS Tireless and HMS Echo will be withdrawn, but we remain ready to provide further appropriate assistance as and when required.”
The commanding officer of HMS Echo, Commander Phillip Newell, said: “The search for MH370 has required my ship and her company to work 24/7 in order to assist with the international effort
“We have faced numerous challenges, not least the sheer size of the search area and the environmental conditions of the southern Indian Ocean.
“As the search moves into the next phase, we sincerely hope that the autonomous underwater vehicles being used by our colleagues are able to provide concrete results in the search for answers as to the fate of the plane.”
Royal Navy, May 2, 2014