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The first ship to reach the area of Indian ocean being searched for the missing flight MH370 is the Norwegian commercial car carrier, the Höegh St Petersburg.
At the request of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the ship diverted its voyage from Mauritius to Melbourne and searched for debris with spotlights overnight.
Customary international law has long recognised that all mariners have a duty to come to the assistance of individuals in distress on the sea.
While the duty is not absolute - in the sense an individual is not required to risk their own life - maritime law outlines there is a “positive requirement” where possible to provide assistance.