From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Deep Ocean Mission
Mains level : India's quest for ocean bed resources
- The Deep Ocean Mission (DOM) to explore the deepest recesses of the ocean has finally got the green signal from the government.
Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)
- Nodal Agency: Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES)
- The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO.
- Underwater robotics and ‘manned’ submersibles are key components of the Mission which will help India harness various living and non-living (water, mineral and energy) resources from the seabed and deep water.
- The tasks that will be undertaken over this period include deep-sea mining, survey, energy exploration and the offshore-based desalination.
- These technological developments are funded under an umbrella scheme of the government – called Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science (O-SMART).
Objective of the mission
- A major thrust of the mission will be looking for metals and minerals.
- It has been estimated that 380 million metric tonnes of Polymetallic nodules are available at the bottom of the seas in the Central Indian Ocean.
- These are rocks scattered on the seabed containing iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt.
Exploring our EEZs
- Exclusive Economic Zones (EZs) are boundaries prescribed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which give rights to a state regarding the exploration and use of marine resources.
- India’s EEZs spreads over 2.2 million sq. km. and in the deep sea lies unexplored and unutilized.
- India has been allotted a site of 75,000 sq. km. in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by the UN International Sea Bed Authority for exploitation of polymetallic nodules (PMN).