New Delhi, May 19(ANI): The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved the acquisition of an Ice-class Research Vessel at a total cost of Rs.490 crore.
The vessel would be acquired by March 2013.
The acquisition is expected to make the country self-reliant and obviate chartering of vessel on year to year basis.
This will also provide a new platform for polar and ocean sciences.
The project will be implemented by the Union Earth Sciences Ministry through its autonomous institution, the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, (NCAOR) Goa.
The main objective of the project is to acquire a new ice-breaker class cum supply vessel for Antarctic, Arctic, Southern Ocean and for Indian Ocean operations throughout the year with state-of-the-art scientific equipments and instrumentation to undertake front ranking oceanographic research.
The vessel is planned to have accommodation facilities for 60 scientists and crew.
The vessel will also have a flight deck for helicopter, adequate deck and laboratory space with requisite instrumentation facilities and equipment.
The scientific expeditions to Antarctica which started in 1981 have contributed substantially to the growth of polar science in the country.
The Indian permanent station "Maitri" has provided a platform for the Indian Scientists to explore new areas in the quest of technical innovations and scientific research.
The Southern Ocean expeditions are also extremely important as these expeditions offer a unique opportunity to study animal physiological adaptation to low temperatures and high ultraviolet levels and biogeochemical and ecological research on processes controlling productivity, food webs, carbon export, trace gas cycling etc.
These expeditions have been undertaken with the help of ice breaker vessels that are chartered annually.
A third permanent station at Larsemann Hills in East Antarctica is being established to strengthen scientific base in Antarctica.
In light of the country's scientific interest in critical areas like polar research, climate change and national strategic interest it is considered necessary to have our own Ice-class olar research vessel. (ANI)