The National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai, is in the process of developing a manned submersible vehicle called ‘Matsya 6000’ in partnership with the Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL), Visakhapatnam. The programme is called ‘Samudrayan’ on the lines of ‘Gaganyan’, according to NIOT Director G.A. Ramadass.
Matsya 6000, being developed under the Deep Ocean Mission, will be capable of taking three humans to a depth of 6 km. NSTL will provide hydrodynamic testing of the equipment, Dr. Ramadass told The Hindu on the sidelines of a seminar organised here recently.
The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of India and its extended EEZ allotted to it in the international waters as per the agreement with the United Nations has given tremendous scope for exploration of deep sea minerals, he said.
“Some of the areas allotted to India in the international waters for underwater mining are at various depths like 5,000 metres and 3,000 metres for deep water exploration. The resources in the EEZ and extended EEZ are larger than our land resources,” he said.
The Government of India has allocated ₹4,800 crore for development of technologies for deep sea exploration under the Blue Economy Policy. Six verticals would be taken up under this mission: development of technology for ocean resources, ocean advisories, biodiversity, ocean exploration, ocean thermal energy conversion and establishment of an advanced marine bio-station. The contribution to the GDP from the seas would increase substantially, he said.
“An Advanced Marine Bio Station would be set up under the aegis of multiple Ministries with the Ministry of Earth Sciences playing the key role. The project was started in September last year and partnerships were invited and proposals are awaited. The project is expected to start soon,” he said.
“NIOT has developed a low-temperature thermal desalination technique for obtaining freshwater for Lakshadweep Islands. This technology, which is simple, less polluting and easy to maintain, is suitable for islands where the depth is closer to the shore. We have four ships for undertaking explorations and research,” he said.
NIOT supplements the efforts of INCOIS, Hyderabad, in the collection of early warning signals during tsunamis by deploying equipment on the seabed. Surface buoys are used to transmit the information to NIOT and INCOIS, which processes and consolidates the information and issues the tsunami warnings,” he said.