Chennai: Deep-sea mission completed

CHENNAI: A remote-operated vehicle (ROV), developed by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai, has successfully completed its deep sea mission at a depth of 5,289 metres, according to Prithviraj Chavan, Union Minister of State for Earth Sciences.

Talking about the objective of the mission here on Saturday, Mr. Chavan said the ROV was released at a distance of 2,500 km away from the southern tip of the coastline in the Indian Ocean on April 17 for a month. The mission was mainly to map the seabed and identify resources and living organisms.

These organisms had survived the adverse conditions at such depth. Apart from identifying poly-metallic nodules, animals and plants, the ROV could also help in identifying fish resources and temperature conditions prevailing on the seabed.

The metallic nodules and living organisms could be used for various purposes, including medicines. “We have to now narrow down to the area where metals are available for which it has to be mapped.”

The work was done by a team of scientists led by Dr. B.A. Ramadass, who let the national tricolour go at that depth. The ROV was developed indigenously and took scientists four years.

Explaining the pressure at 5,289 metres in the sea, Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, said this was the first time such an ROV was dropped into the seabed at such depth in the South Asian region and brought back poly-metallic nodules. The institute would take up further research on the nodules.

The next challenge for the NIOT would be to release the ROV at a depth of 6,000 metres, said M.A. Atmanand, Director, NIOT, Chennai.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences has designed tsunami warning system and its main advantage is that it will not give a false alarm, Mr. Chavan said. Answering a question about predictions of the Indian Meteorology Department, Mr. Chavan said it was one of the oldest departments functioning in the country.



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