The ship belongs to the Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) and is operated by the Indian navy

KOCHI: INS Sagardhwani, a marine acoustic research ship (MARS), Thursday set sail from the naval base here for a scientific venture called 'Marine & Allied Inter-disciplinary Training and Research Initiative' (MAITRI).

The ship belongs to the Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) and is operated by the Indian navy.

The vessel was jointly flagged off by Vice-Admiral AK Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command (SNC), and Dr G Satheesh Reddy, secretary to Department of Defence R&D and chairman of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

It would be visiting Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia and would be interacting/initiating collaborative research programmes with selected institutes in these countries as part of the present SAGAR MAITRI Track-2, a defence press release said.

Track1 of SAGAR MAITRI mission was held in April 2019, when she visited Yangon, Myanmar. The ship's mission which was conceptualised by the DRDO, is in line with the Prime Ministers vision of 'Safety And Growth of All in the Region (SAGAR)', the release said.

The vision is to promote closer cooperation in socio-economic aspects and scientific interaction, especially in ocean research in underwater acoustics, among Indian Ocean Region (IOR) countries, it said. The mission by the Indian Navy and NPOL is a step towards enhancing research and strengthening relationship with South East Asian countries and is, therefore being termed as SAGAR MAITRI, it said. The objectives of the SAGAR MAITRI mission are data collection from the entire North Indian Ocean, focusing on the Andaman Sea and adjoining seas and establishing long- term collaboration with eight IOR countries in the field of 'Ocean Research and Development', the release said.

INS Sagardhwani was built indigenously by GRSE Ltd, Kolkata, and commissioned in 1994.

During the last 25 years, the ship has carried out intensive oceanographic observational programs/ research.

The Navy and NPOL have been jointly working in the field of research & development of sonar systems, technologies for underwater surveillance and study of the ocean environment and underwater materials.

NPOL is continuously striving to enhance the performance of underwater sensors by undertaking research in underwater acoustics and physical oceanographic conditions through its platform INS Sagardhwani.

The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment, including newly fitted wave height measuring radar for this purpose.