Research vessel Sagar Nidhi dedicated to nation


Chennai : Union Minister of Science and Technology Kapil Sibal, with Shipping and Surface Transport Minister T.R. Balu, dedicated India’s first science vessel, Sagar Nidhi, to the nation Monday at a function at the Chennai port.

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Anchored off the coast of Tamil Nadu, the country’s first deep-sea research vessel and floating laboratory has been acquired from the Italian firm Fincantieri at a cost of Rs.2.32 billion ($57.5).

Built at Genoa’s Riva Trigoso Shipyard, the vessel meets all regulations of Indian and international naval registers.

The 104-metre long vessel can remain at sea for 45 days at a stretch and can accommodate 45 experts and their workstations on board.

The vessel has submersible capsules that can descend to depths of six km below the surface of the sea.

One of its first programmes will be assist Indian scientists from the National Institute of Ocean Technology to explore deep sea cobalt deposits, believed to be located 6,000 m below the surface of the water in the Indian Ocean within India’s marine economic zone.

“Sagar Nidhi will fill the technology gap Indian scientists face in ocean exploration studies,” D. Rajasesekhar, chief of the vessel management cell of the NIOT, told the media here.

The vessel will be used to launch tsunami monitoring systems and to identify mines and gas hydrates, NIOT director S. Kathiroli said.

It will also assist India’s polar expeditions.

India has two other small research vessels – the Sagar Purvi and Sagar Paschimi.