Vasco-da-Gama (Goa): India’s scientific expeditions in the polar region will get a boost with the Ministry of Earth Sciences deciding to procure a polar research vessel (PRV) from Spain that can navigate through 18,000 nautical miles of frozen waters and break ice as thick as 1.5 metres.
The PRV, which has been commissioned by the Goa-based National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, is loaded with advanced features and will be the most hi-tech vessel to fly the Indian flag. Currently, India has an ocean research vessel, Sagar Nidhi (pictured), that can break ice up to 40cm thick and navigate a maximum distance of 10,000 nautical miles.
The 130-metre long PRV, being bought at a cost of $160m, will facilitate research expeditions in the polar region where several teams from the country, including those from Chennai-based National Institute of Ocean Technology, have carried out studies.
In addition to the PRV, four aged vessels, including two that would help in coastal research, will be replaced in the next three years. At present, India has a fleet of six such vessels.