Malaysian Jet Disappearance Reveals Political Games, Lack Of International Cooperation

Mar 21, 2014

As of Friday nothing of significance had been spotted by search planes flying deep into the southern Indian Ocean looking for possible debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

The search is part of an international effort to solve the nearly 2-week-old mystery of what happened to the jet, which disappeared with 239 people aboard.

Suzette Grillot, the dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies, says while most of the nearly two dozen countries involved have collaborated well, the search has revealed instances of some nations not cooperating.

“The search planes actually were grounded for a day and lost precious time because once the search area had been shifted, the Indonesians refused to allow these planes to fly through their airspace,” Grillot says. “[They claimed] international bureaucratic procedures hadn't been followed that the paperwork for such flights hadn't been filed.”

General Manager of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Emergency Response Division John Young gives an update on the ongoing search for Malaysia Airlines' flight MH370.

The College’s Assistant Dean Rebecca Cruise says this part of the world doesn’t always get along.

“In the South China Sea, where much of the initial searching was going on, there are a number of islands that are contended,” Cruise says. “So Indonesia is perhaps trying to protect its own sovereignty and its own position.”

Grillot says there’s no worldwide governing body responsible for an international airline tragedy.

“There’s an International Civil Aviation Organization, a special agency of the United Nations, that helps produce principles and protocols for safe air travel and air navigation, but they don't have any power,” Grillot says. “It's not like they're in charge of these types of investigations so the investigator-in-charge becomes the country or the government from which this airliner originated.”

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