The Geological Survey of India (GSI) will induct a state-of-the-art vessel built in Korea for survey and exploration of the seabed in Indian and international waters. It will be docked in Mangalore.

According to Sanjeev Raghav, Superintending Geologist of its Mangalore-based Marine and Coastal Survey Division, the Rs. 600-crore research vessel, Samudra Ratnakar, was handed over to the GSI this week by Korean manufacturer Hyundai Heavy Industries.

Induction by January

The “organisation is embarking upon a new chapter for survey and exploration in Indian and international waters with the induction…” he said here on Saturday and added that it would be inducted by January 2014 to “our existing fleet of three research vessels”. There would be many trials before January, he told The Hindu .

Mr. Raghav said that the division had conducted over 700 cruises on its deep sea research vessel R.V. Samudra Manthan and twin coastal survey vessels, R.V. Samudra Kaustubh and R. V. Samudra Shaudhikama.

The surveys were conducted within Indian exclusive economic zone (EEZ), territorial waters (TW) and adjoining international waters.

The GSI has a pool of over 120 trained geologists, geophysicists and chemists. Systematic multidisciplinary marine survey commenced after the acquisition of deep sea and coastal survey vessels in 1983-84, he said.

Since then, it had conducted systematic geoscientific studies and data generation in coastal, near shore and offshore waters of Andaman Sea, Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and northern Indian Ocean. 

The division was the headquarters for all marine surveys and exploration in India by the GSI. It has seven operational offices at Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Vishakhapatnam and Chennai, Cochin and Gandhinagar in addition to Mangalore. 

Data collection

GSI is currently involved in the collection of bathymetric, magnetic, seismic and sediment distribution data within TW and EEZ of India. Geomorphology of the seabed is studied with the help of dual frequency single channel echosounder, multibeam echosounder and side scan sonar surveys.

Mr. Raghava added: “Petrological, palaeontological, chemical and geotechnical parameters of seabed sediments are carried out in shore-based laboratories to decipher the sediment distribution pattern, its characteristics and to assess the economic mineral potential of the shelf and offshore regime.”

Various research and development projects are also taken up to study sea level changes, palaeoclimate, coastal changes and geological history of the ocean basins, he stated.