Chennai, Mar 3: India's deep sea exploration received a major boost with the induction of ''Sagar Nidhi'', a multi-purpose scientific vessel, acquired by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), here today.
Dedicating it to the nation at an impressive function at the Chennai Port Trust, Union Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Kapil Sibal said the Rs 232 crore ship was built by Italian company Fincantieri, was a virtual floating laboratry and would be used for deep sea exploration and oceanographic studies.
NIOT officials said the Ice-class vessel was capable of undertaking deep sea explorations upto 45 days.
The vessel, which had taken part in a search and rescue operation in Red Sea during its maiden voyage from Italy to India, was also capable of cruising to Arctic and Antarctic regions.
The multi-purpose vessel would be used by the scientists and engineers of NIOT, Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) at Hyderabad and National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), Goa.
Sagar Nidhi would fill the void experienced by Indian scientists till now for deep sea explorations. Our scientists have the technical know-how but they were handicapped by lack of infrastructure.
Hitherto, NCAOR scientists were hiring ice-class vessel for their antarctic explorations and the induction of Sagar Nidhi would help them to become self-reliant in future expeditions to the South Pole.