British naval ship joins MH370 search

A diagram showing the search area for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean is seen during a briefing by John Young, general manager of the emergency response division of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), in Canberra March 20, 2014.

LONDON - A British naval ship has joined the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane after possible debris from the plane was spotted, the Ministry of Defence said on Thursday.

The survey ship HMS Echo is in the Indian Ocean, where the Australian prime minister said a satellite had detected objects including a 24-metre (79-feet) long piece of debris.

The ship is designed to collect ocean data to support submarine and amphibious operations and is equipped with a survey motor boat and a contingent of Royal Marines.

Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein described the debris as a "credible lead".

A Norwegian merchant ship on Thursday became the first vessel to reach the area where the debris was spotted, about 2,500 kilometres (1,553 miles) southwest of Perth.

Ships and aircraft from a host of countries have been deployed in the search along two corridors stretching from the southern Indian Ocean to South and Central Asia.