India’s polar ship

  • India’s plans to acquire a ₹ 1,000-crore polar research vehicle (PRV) — a ship that can cut through ice sheets and glaciers — may see fresh delays. 
  • The government had authorised the Goa-based National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), a facility that comes under the Earth Sciences Ministry, to acquire a Polar Research Vehicle (PRV) in 2014.
  • A PRV was necessary to meet “…the growing need of the scientific community to initiate studies in ocean sciences, (ii) the uncertainty in the charter-hire of polar vessels and the ever-escalating chartering costs, and (iii) the expansion of scientific activities into the Arctic and Southern Ocean (the seas surrounding Antarctica).”
  • The ‘ice-breaker,’ as these ships are colloquially called, can cut through a 1.5-metre thick wall of ice. With a lifespan of 30 years, the ship is expected to be central to India’s ambitions in the Arctic and Antarctica in coming years. India has announced plans to rebuild Maitri, its research station in Antarctica, and make it impervious to its harsh environment for at least 25 years.


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