GIS - 23 December, 2015: In the wake of the Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2), a symposium was inaugurated today at Le Labourdonnais Hotel in Port Louis. It is organised jointly by the Continental Shelf, Maritime Zones Administration & Exploration under the aegis of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UNESCO.
A 25-strong multi-disciplinary researcher-team is attending the symposium during which the perspectives of the first Expedition of IIOE-2 undertaken by ‘Sagar Nidhi’, an Indian research vessel, along the leg Goa to Port Louis will be presented. Members of IOC-UNESCO as well as local experts and partners from the public and private sectors are also participating.
In his address at the opening ceremony the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, said that the IIOE-2 is very timely adding that the future lies in the untapped wealth of the ocean. He pointed out that the advancement of the blue economy depends on acute data which the IIOE-2 will help gather. According to the Minister, this second expedition will advance knowledge, enhance scientific capacity and allow international collaboration.
Speaking about the first IIOE undertaken some 50 years ago, Mr Koonjoo recalled that it has been one of the greatest international, interdisciplinary oceanographic research efforts aimed at carrying out a large number of exploration surveys in the Indian Ocean.
For his part the Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Om Kumar Dabidin, reiterated the importance that the Prime Minister’s Office attaches to the management of marine resources of the continental shelf, in particular the Mascarene Plateau region off St. Brandon Island. The five-year expedition will provide Mauritius with survey facilities on-board the oceanographic vessels to prospect the Exclusive Economic Zone of Mauritius, he said.
In a presentation on the history of IIOE, Dr Nick D’Adamo from IOC Perth Regional Programme Office, recalled that the original IIOE was undertaken from 1959 to 1965, while adding that it was one of the greatest international, interdisciplinary oceanographic research efforts to explore Indian Ocean. During the expedition 40 oceanographic research vessels belonging to 13 countries surveyed the Indian Ocean and collected useful data in almost all disciplines in the marine sciences. It was one of the first co-ordinated efforts to explore the Indian Ocean before the inception of this great expedition, very little was known about this ocean, he said.
As regards IIOE-2, Dr D’Adamo said that it will advance our understanding of the Indian Ocean and its role in the Earth system in order to enable informed decisions in support of sustainable development and the well-being of humankind.
He stressed the importance of IIOE-2 given that the Indian Ocean is still poorly understood. However, with the advancement in new observational technologies such as robotics measurement and computer modelling, new data and discoveries can be made. The expedition, he said, will also be a great opportunity to tackle basin-wide integrative issues, provide for education and training as well as link and synergise individual research programmes.
According to UNESCO, IIOE-2 will be beneficial to participating States in building up their technical capability in sharing and transferring of technologies and knowledge to be in the forefront of research initiatives and to broaden their linkages with relevant associations.
IIOE-2 began on 4th December in Goa, India. The formal launch coincided with the end of the International Symposium "Dynamics of the Indian Ocean: Perspective and Retrospective" and it was symbolised by the departure of the first cruise between Goa and Mauritius.
The IIOE-2 was adopted as a major initiative of the IOC, to be undertaken jointly with the Scientific Committee for Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the Indian Ocean Global Ocean Observing System (IOGOOS). Planning for an IIOE-2 has been underway since 2011.
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