The joint expedition represents a momentous step forward in promoting international scientific cooperation

On July 24, 2023, an eight month joint expedition of ocean scientists from India, Bangladesh, and Mauritius reached its conclusion, marking the successful culmination of a collaborative effort in ocean research and observation.

Organized under the regional framework of the Colombo Security Conclave (CSC) and spearheaded by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), the expedition aimed to build capacity in ocean observation and services while gathering crucial oceanic data to predict and manage environmental changes in the Indian Ocean region.

Embarked on the research vessel Ocean Research Vessel (ORV) Sagar Nidhi, the expedition became a remarkable platform for undertaking various collaborative activities, including the measurement and modelling of essential ocean parameters. These efforts were envisioned to result in improved forecasting abilities and services, benefiting all the countries in the region.

The core objective of the expedition was to expand the collective knowledge of the ocean, with a specific focus on understanding and managing changes in the Indian Ocean's regional environment. By fostering cooperation between India, Bangladesh, and Mauritius, the scientific community sought to address common challenges and enhance their understanding of the ocean's complexities

For the participating oceanographers and hydrographers, the expedition proved to be an enriching experience.

Murughen Sadien, a physical oceanographer with expertise in coastal areas and the participating scientist from Mauritius Oceanography Institute, expressed his gratitude for being part of the journey. He acknowledged the invaluable insights gained from studying deep-sea processes and the significance of various small-scale mixing phenomena in the open and coastal ocean. The deployment of advanced instruments such as the Vertical Microstructure Profiler (VMP) and Lowered Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (LADCP) contributed to expanding their knowledge base, he said, according to India's Ministry of Earth Sciences.

At the same time, Md Simul Bhuyan, the participating scientist from Bangladesh Oceanographic Research Institute (BORI), was quoted as saying that the research expedition onboard OVR Sagar Nidhi was a "first of its kind experience" for him.

The origins of this groundbreaking expedition can be traced back to the maiden CSC Oceanographers and Hydrographers conference held in Goa and Hyderabad in November 2022. It was discussions during this conference that initiated the collaboration, leading to the joint oceanic research endeavor.

The research vessel Sagar Nidhi, the focal point of the expedition, played a pivotal role in enabling such ambitious scientific pursuits. With its remarkable blue water capabilities, the vessel could cover ranges of up to 10,000 nautical miles and sustain voyages lasting up to 45 days. Furthermore, equipped with submersible capsules, Sagar Nidhi could carry scientists to incredible depths of six kilometers below sea level, facilitating extensive geoscientific, meteorological, and oceanographic research. The ship's diverse capabilities were expected to support the establishment of Tsunami monitoring systems and research in tropical and polar environments.

Throughout the expedition, the researchers depended upon the ocean data, analyzing critical information to make informed predictions about the marine environment and variations in ocean parameters. The data collected during the voyage promised to be instrumental in developing more accurate forecasting models and acelerating regional services for ocean management and conservation.

The joint expedition represented a momentous step forward in promoting international scientific cooperation and understanding. It triggered pooling resources, expertise, and knowledge to address shared challenges in the ocean domain.

As the expedition came to a close, the participating scientists expressed their satisfaction and enthusiasm for the knowledge gained and the bonds forged during their journey. The success of this endeavor served as a testament to the power of collaboration and laid a strong foundation for future joint scientific missions concerning the Indian Ocean Region.

In conclusion, the joint expedition emphasized the importance of international cooperation in ocean research and observation, with the primary goal of better understanding and managing changes in the Indian Ocean's regional environment. By combining their physical resources and academic expertise, the participating nations not only enhanced their collective knowledge but also fostered a spirit of camaraderie and unity among their scientific communities. With the valuable data gathered and the experiences shared, the expedition holds the potential to catalyze substantial advancements in the fields of ocean research and conservation in the foreseeable future.