ABOUT: The Underwater Domain.

What does this Phrase mean, It simply means being aware that there is an ecosystem that is submerged and we human need to increase our awareness about the same. 71% of planet earth is subsea.

Oceans have great significance in Indian Mythology. Lord Vishnu rests on Ananta Shesha on the ocean of white milk with goddess Lakshmi at his feet. There is great significance to this imagery, and I shall let this be introspection exercise for the readers of this article. The Ocean is the ultimate frontier for Humans on earth, whilst we are deploying a lot of our energies to understand about space and into space exploration not enough is being done on the ocean exploration front , I mean the subsea (the underwater)  exploration has been done to raise the awareness about the greatest challenge the doors to which open at our coastline.

ABOUT: The Maritime Research Centre (MRC) and the Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA).

The Maritime Research Centre  was founded by Dr(Cdr) Arnab Das in Feb 2017, is driving this initiative “underwater domain awareness. I am indeed honored to be associated with the MRC, Dr. Arnab Das an individual of immense integrity and expertise in the field of underwater signal processing and Prafulji Talera, enthusing the wisdom and the direction for the initiative to move forward and gain momentum. Under this blog/article I would like to share my thoughts on the three points that constitute the mission of MRC from my perspective as a Commercial Oil and Gas Saturation Diver (IMCA/IOGP) and Consultant to Major Oil and Gas Operators.

ABOUT: Sunil Tapse.

This is required to establish “as a minimum”, desk top credibility of what I wish to share with you about the UDA initiative.

Born 1968: 31 years offshore / subsea oil gas construction industry: 1988 – 2015. 1000+ Commercial Dives and 15,000+ hours in Saturation. Supervised Dives to 225 msw and been CSR offshore where Saturation Diving Operations are conducted in access of 200 msw. Have an deep understanding of NDT Techniques that are used Subsea from his qualification as a CSWIP 3.4u Inspector. Qualified to IMCA and OGP Standard for Oil and Gas Diving and ROV Operations. Sat Dive Supervisor, Sat Diving Superintendent, Offshore Construction Manager and Client Site Representative. Oil and Gas Subsea Intervention (Diving and ROV Operations) consultant for Oil and Gas Majors like British Petroleum and Shell on Major Oil and Gas Green Field Development Projects. MBA in Business Finance from Cambridge University, UK. About Saturation Diving : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbAxa-_3h6E.

ABOUT: The Maritime Research Centre Mission.

The mission is categorized into three levels to meet the broader vision of UDA in IOR:

I have expanded on the three point in the reverse order, taking some liberty and hope Dr. Arnab would turn a blind eye to the same.

(c) The human resource that understands the various facets of UDA to drive effective Maritime Strategy is extremely scarce in this country. MRC will work towards generating the critical pool of young graduates in multi-disciplinary areas that appreciates the nuances of UDA in the IOR.

I strongly agree with this statement, the human resource that understand the Underwater aspect of the Sea is quite scare, this is not be misconstrued as Sea-fearers they come under Maritime, here we are talking of Underwater Domain the under the Sea aspect of the Ocean. Apart from the Naval and the Commercial Divers; which may constitute around 1000-2000 and those who have taken up Scuba Diving as a hobby and actively pursuing the same, I would say around 3000. In a population of 1.3+ Billion that is not even a blip. That is a huge GAP that we have to fill and fill it very quickly indeed. I would say as the first step toward creating UDA is identifying Youth who have a keen interest in exploration, because only once you explore does one understand the challenge and then the journey of innovation to overcome those challenge start.

Dr. Arnab Das has laid the foundation already, it is now to spread awareness and start attracting youth into this Domain that is still unexplored and uncharted. The treasure’s are hidden in the womb of the ocean, any nation that does not develop this skill will sure find it hard to remain a dominant force in the times to come and protect its interests. At a time when Youth are looking for a something out of the ordinary, this could offer an absolutely new area of skill development that has strategic significance for a nation that has 25 lakh sq.km of EEZ.

The need for subsea infrastructure development will never cease to exist whether it is for oil and gas and minerals. Military, Civilian Infra (tunnels), Exploration (oil, gas minerals), Ecosystem preservation or colonialization. All subsea creatures rely on SONAR for navigation. Subsea creatures are the most resilient and the most intelligent of all the species of life forms. There is a lot to learn from the inhabitants of the OCEAN. We must tap into this intelligence and that means stepping into the UNDERWATER DOMAIN!. The technology to map subsea and navigate comes from SONAR. The know-how  for the Human to step into the depth of the OCEAN comes from Diving and the technology is driven my the human need to explore deeper. I believe that one day HUMAN’s will master the technology to be AMPHIBIANS!, for that to happen we need to focus on awareness towards the underwater domain.

There are two aspects of subsea engagement the manned subsea intervention and the unmanned subsea intervention.

The unmanned subsea intervention shall be AUV and ROV.

The Manned subsea intervention is an achievement that will set nations apart, much like the manned mission to MARS!!



(b) The technology and innovation required to provide effective and enhanced UDA in the IOR is critical, particularly in the light of significant challenges due to tropical littoral limitation causing sub-optimal sonar performance. MRC will identify specific challenges and work towards providing scientific inputs on multi-disciplinary aspects.

The key words are effective and enhanced. This will involve a lot of information gathering, collation and analysis because unlike Terra firma the subsea topography around the coastal areas is subject to a lot of dynamic forces and thus are constantly in a flux. This also offers a great opportunity for developing superior SONAR technology. We have approximately – 7,517 km of coast line that offer so much diversity in term of variation in subsea condition and parameters. Multidisciplinary aspects will create a small pocket of employment and raise the awareness of the people in the coastal areas. The Scientific study will also help fishermen optimize their catch with the objective of creating a subsea ecosystem balance. We will be surprised to discover so many new species.

Any solution in the future shall be fundamentally rooted in the fact that. A world where human scientific endeavors take us to natural solution for collective sustainability and well-being of all animals, plants, trees, nature itself and mankind. Imbalance in maintaining collective sustainability will only lead to creation of technology that will create further imbalance and stress on the ecosystem. As RADAR and RF have an impact on land species, SONAR has the safe affect on subsea species, thus the introduction of SONAR and it’s impact on subsea species needs to be studied over time and introduction of SONAR should be in stepped progression for the subsea species to get accustomed to this new SOUND in their environment.

I have absolutely no doubt that once we have adequate engagement, challenges that we face subsea, shall be easily overcome with innovative combination of knowhow and technology, may even lead to major cost saving for the Nation. The Challenge is to bring everything and everyone that can contribute to know how about the underwater domain under one roof !

(a) The maritime strategy formulation with the UDA framework in the IOR. Here, MRC will engage with the practitioners, decision makers and policy formulators to drive the Indian Maritime Strategy with an effective UDA framework at its core.

The natural progression would be

  • Identify Human Resource (SME)
  • Identify Human Resource Field Marshall (Who have understanding but lack deep knowledge)
  • Identify Human Resource (The Learner – The Work Force – Grade 12 should be the minimum entrée level)
  • Collate the Geophysical and Geotechnical data that is already available – locally and globally.
  • Develop a Repository of all data centrally.
  • Establish Collaborating agreements with likeminded individual and organization with similar objectives working across the borders.
  • Identify –  Multiple Project of National Significance and Importance with the STAKE HOLDERS of MRC.
  • Seek Funding.
  • Create a Project Execution Plan and Strategy.
  • Execute Project and Analyze and Evolve.
  • Identify New Project and EMPOWER – Idea Creators to Submit Proposal for Maritime Core Team to approve and execute.
  • Adopt the Continuous improvement WHEEL to move toward EXCELLENCE!

Hopefully this article will help in a teeny tiny way to increase the awareness of this domain to attract more YOUTH to explore this largely untraversed, undiscovered path ! Every scientifically orientated progressive nation that desires to evolve and flourish needs to get to the deep-end of the SEA!!

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