BEIJING: At least seven Chinese ships were to head for the southern Indian Ocean Friday, where possible debris from a missing Malaysia Airlines plane has been sighted, state media reported.
The official Xinhua news agency said that rescue ships Haixun 01 and 31 and Nanhaijiu 101 and 115 were to depart for the search area.
Three other navy ships were already on their way, it added.
Xinhua also said the Antarctic research icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, would head for the area “as soon as possible”.
The Xuelong was anchored in the western Australian port of Fremantle. In January, it took part in the rescue of personnel from a Russian ship stranded in Antarctica.
Australia said Thursday that satellites had captured images of objects in the southern Indian Ocean, with the largest estimated at 24 metres (79 feet) across.
The announcement raised hopes of a breakthrough in the mysterious disappearance of the MH370, but officials cautioned that the apparent sighting needed to be confirmed.
Of the 239 people aboard the Boeing 777, which went missing on March 8 during an overnight flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, 153 are from China.