Union Cabinet approves the Deep Ocean Mission

On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet approved the proposal on ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).

The Ministry of Earth Sciences will be the nodal ministry implementing this multi-institutional ambitious mission.

The main aim of the mission is to explore Deep Ocean for resources and develop deep-sea technologies for sustainable use of ocean resources.

The cost of the Mission has been estimated at Rs4,077 crore over a five-year period and will be implemented in phases.

The estimated cost for the first phase for three years (2021-2024) is estimated at Rs2,823.4 crore.

India is the sixth country in the world after US, Russia, France, China and Japan to launch a mission on deep ocean resources and explore blue economy.

The mission has 6 main components:
1. Developing a manned submersible to carry three people to a depth of 6,000 metres in the ocean with a suite of scientific sensors and tools. This component also focuses on developing an Integrated Mining System will be used for mining polymetallic nodules at those depths in the central Indian Ocean.

2. Developing Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services, which entails developing a suite of observations and models to understand and provide future projections of important climate variables on seasonal to decadal time scales.

3. Searching for deep sea flora and fauna, including microbes, and studying ways to sustainably utilise them.

4. Exploring and identifying potential sources of hydrothermal minerals that are sources of precious metals formed from the earth’s crust along the Indian Ocean mid-oceanic ridges.

5. Studying and preparing detailed engineering designs for offshore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination plants.

6. Grooming experts in the field of ocean biology and engineering. This component aims at translating research into industrial applications and product development through on-site business incubator facilities.

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