Lieutenant Raina Taggart, using the range finder binoculars to gauge the distance to HMAS Success from the starboard bridge wing of HMAS Toowoomba, prior to conducting a Replenishment at Sea during the search for the missing Malaysia Airways Flight MH370. (AFP Photo)
A new mystery has emerged in MH370's disappearance with the Malaysia Airlines saying the lithium ion batteries carried in the plane weighed over 200 kg, even as the cargo manifest released recently listed the "consolidated" consignment at 2.453 tonnes.
"About two tonnes, equivalent to 2,453 kg of cargo was declared as consolidated under one master airway bill. This master AWB actually comprised five house AWB. Of these five AWB, two contained lithium ion batteries amounting to a total tonnage volume of 221 kg. The balance three house AWB, amounting to 2,232 kg, were declared as radio accessories and chargers," the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) said in a statement last night.
But this has not been disclosed before and is not stated in the cargo manifest, the Star reported.
According to Malaysian company NNR Global Logistics the batteries formed only a small part of a "consolidated" shipment weighing 2.453 tonnes.
Even though the MAS said the batteries weighed 221 kg, a company spokesman said they weighed less than 200kg. He, however, did not say what the remaining 2.253 tonnes of cargo was.
"I cannot reveal more because of the ongoing investigations. We have been told by our legal advisers not to talk about it," he was quoted as saying by the daily.
He said he could not name the company which manufactured the batteries.
Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya had also announced on March 24 that 200kg of lithium batteries were on board the plane. He said they were packed safely.
Malaysian authorities released the plane's full cargo manifest along with the preliminary report on the missing Boeing 777-200 on Thursday which showed that NNR Global shipped 133 pieces of one item weighing 1.99 tonnes and 67 pieces of another item weighing 463kg for a total weight of 2.453 tonnes. Neither the number of batteries nor its weight were specified.
The manifest came with an instruction that it should be handled with care and that flammability hazards exist.
Its flammability had been the source of many earlier theories over how the plane was lost. However, most of the theories have been debunked.
Meanwhile, an International panel probing the case of the missing Malaysian jet will determine the reason for the four-hour delay in the hunt for the plane.
The Beijing-bound plane - carrying 239 people, including five Indians, an Indo-Canadian and 154 Chinese nationals - had mysteriously vanished on March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.