India’s Deep Ocean Mission: What is it and its significance – Explained

Deep Ocean Mission is an initiative by the Government of India to explore the deep ocean for resources and develop deep-sea technologies for sustainable use of ocean resources. Read in-depth about India’s Deep Ocean Mission and its significance.

Created On: Aug 12, 2021 14:32 IST
Deep Ocean Mission Submersible Matsya-6000, Twitter/Dept for BEIS
Deep Ocean Mission Submersible Matsya-6000, Twitter/Dept for BEIS

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by PM Narendra Modi on June 16, 2021, approved the proposal of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) on the ‘Deep Ocean Mission’, which aims to explore the deep ocean for resources and develop deep-sea technologies for sustainable use of ocean resources.

Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology and Earth Sciences said even private institutions will be invited in the development process of technologies for the mission to explore the opportunities of mining, energy, biodiversity, freshwater, etc in the deep ocean and to support the Blue Economy Initiatives of the Indian Government.

The Deep Ocean Mission will be implemented in a phase-wise manner at a cost of Rs 4,077 crores for 5 years from 2021 to 2026. The first phase of the mission from 2021 to 2024 is estimated to cost Rs 2,823.4 crores.

What is Deep Ocean Mission?

•Deep Ocean Mission is an initiative by the Government of India to explore the deep ocean for resources and develop deep-sea technologies for sustainable use of ocean resources.

•The Mission will send a manned submersible ‘Matsya-6000’ up to a depth of 6,000 metres in the ocean with three people aboard. The submersible will be equipped with technologies such as scientific sensors, and tools for deep-sea mining, exploration of deep-sea marine biodiversity and mineral resources.

•The manned submersible ‘Matsya-6000’ has been designed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in an MoU signed with the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) which is responsible for the navigation and electronics aspect of the submersible.

Deep Ocean Mission: Significance

•The Mission aims to support India’s Blue Economy Initiatives. The Mission is a multi-ministerial, multi-disciplinary program that emphasizes developing deep-sea technology, including the development of manned submersible, the acquisition of a research vessel for exploring the ocean, and capacity building in Marine Biology.

•The Ministry of Earth Sciences has a 15-year contract with the International Seabed Authority (ISA), an UN-backed body in charge of regulations for ocean floors, to explore 75,000 sq. km in the Indian Ocean for Manganese Nodules, also known as Polymetallic Nodules.

•A preliminary study indicated 380 million metric tonnes of polymetallic nodules comprising Manganese, Cobalt, Iron, Lead, Zinc, and Copper in the Central Indian Ocean basin. These metals are estimated to be $110 billion.

Deep Ocean Mission: Six Components

•Development of Technologies for Deep Sea Mining, and Manned Submersible: A manned submersible will be sent up to a depth of 6,000 metres in the ocean with three people aboard. The submersible equipped with technologies such as scientific sensors, and tools for deep-sea mining, exploration of deep-sea marine biodiversity, and mineral resources will aid in mining Polymetallic Nodules.

•Development of Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services: The Mission will aid in developing observations and models for exploring future projections of climate variables on seasonal to decadal time scales which in turn also support the priority area of coastal tourism under the Blue Economy Initiative.

•Technological innovations for exploration and conservation of deep-sea biodiversity: The mission will aid in exploring deep-sea flora and fauna including microbes as well as sustainable utilization of deep-sea bio-resources. This in turn will support the priority area of Marine Fisheries and allied services under the Blue Economy Initiative.

•Deep Ocean Survey and Exploration: The mission will explore and identify potential sites of multi-metal Hydrothermal Sulphides along the Indian Ocean ridges. This in turn will support the priority area of deep-sea exploration of ocean resources under the Blue Economy Initiative.

•Energy and freshwater from the Ocean: The mission will aid in engineering detailed studies and design for offshore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination plant. This in turn will support the priority area of off-shore energy development under the Blue Economy Initiative.

•Advanced Marine Station for Ocean Biology: The mission will aid in developing human capacity and enterprise in ocean biology and engineering and enable translating research into product development and industrial application through on-site business incubator facilities. This in turn will support the priority area of Marine Biology, Blue trade, and Blue manufacturing under the Blue Economy Initiative.

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