Indian Underwater ROV to Explore Polymetallic Nodules

India’s Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) which was built by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in collaboration with the Russian-based Experimental Design Bureau of Oceanological Engineering (EDBOE) has been deployed in the investigation of iron and manganese hydroxides rich polymetallic nodules at a depth of around 6000 m in the Central Indian Ocean Basin. Other information like sound velocity, density, temperature and dissolved oxygen were gathered and several images were taken by the ROV during its various trial tests.

This ROV was released from Sagar Nidhi 1, India’s major ocean research vessel featuring novel positioning abilities. The underwater activities of the ROV are remotely operated from the vessel and it also facilitates inter-communication between the research site and the vessel.

It was reported that this ROV is operated at the Poly-Metallic Nodule (PMN) site which was allocated by the United Nations’ International Sea Bed Authority (ISBA) to the country. Chennai-based NIOT has estimated that the total mineral wealth in the PMN site is around 380 million metric tons and it can be explored effectively by the ROV. Atmanand, Director of NIOT has stated that with this accomplishment, India has become one of the major nations along with US, France, Japan, Russia and China. He added that presently, the ROV has been collecting significant samples and images from the PMN site. He added after a detailed examination, it will be operated in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin rich in gas hydrates.

According to Ramadass, Project Director, they have been researching for the past six months on improving the quality of the video pictures and recognizing appropriate sensors for making the ROV more beneficial.


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