The Mumbai University, which opened an institute of marine science last week, is set to become the first university in the country to have a fully equipped marine exploration and research ship.
According to the varsity officials, the ship will be part of its marine institute, the Sindhu Swadhyay Sanstha. It will be used for research and exploration purposes along the Mumbai and Konkan coastline and will have a research laboratory on board.
The announcement of the varsity’s plan of acquiring the ship for the institute was made during the inauguration ceremony of the institute on Friday at the university’s Vidyanagri campus at Kalina.
Professor Vinayak Dalvie from the faculty of zoology at MU, who was instrumental in the setting up the institute, said marine science required on-site learning, and hence the need for such a ship.
“According to the vision of Vice-Chancellor Dr Rajan Welukar, the institute will teach all sciences related to ocean and sea, like their flora and fauna, aqua culture etc. We will even teach subjects like physics and chemistry at the institute. For teaching marine sciences, we needed a concept like Sindhu Swadhyay Sanstha under Mumbai University,” said Dalvie, who also heads the zoology department at Mithibai College.
He added that the proposal and budget for the ship had already been forwarded to the state’s Ports Minister Narayan Rane, who had inaugurated the institute on Friday.
According to varsity officials, a proposal for funds has also been submitted to the University Grants Commission (UGC).
The varsity is looking forward to acquire a vessel in a year or two.
The vessel will be of 20 metres in length, nine metres breadth and three metres in depth, and will have a crew capacity of 15.
It will be well equipped with GPS, fish-finding equipment and other latest oceanography equipment.
“The state has 700 km of coastline and Mumbai University is one of the two fortunate universities which are very close to the coastline. Acquiring a ship will be very beneficial for students to study and research marine life closely,” Dalvie said.
The ship will cost approximately Rs. 2.5 crore, including the equipment, confirmed varsity officials.
Dalvie added that while government institutions working on marine products and oceanography had ships, the Mumbai University would be the first university to have a ship of its own.
Admission to various courses at Sindhu Swadhyay Sanstha will begin soon, varsity officials say, adding that the details of the same will be updated on the university website from time to time.