Science vessel for ocean mission arrives in Seychelles

The research vessel Ocean Zephyr lays off Victoria, the Seychelles, on Friday March 1, 2019, where it will spend several days loading and testing equipment ahead of a weeks-long expedition to explore the depths of the Indian Ocean. The Ocean Zephyr is the mothership of the British-based Nekton Mission for scientists to document the impact of global warming in the unexplored frontier of the Indian Ocean that could affect billions of people in the surrounding region over the coming decades. (AP Photo/Steve Barker)

The science vessel of British-based Nekton Mission arrived in the Seychelles, where it will begin the first stage of a years-long mission to explore the depths of the Indian Ocean

VICTORIA, Seychelles — The science vessel of British-based Nekton Mission arrived in the Seychelles on Friday to begin the first stage of a multi-year mission to explore the depths of the Indian Ocean and document the effects of global warming on one of the planet's last major unexplored frontiers.

Ocean Zephyr docked in the island nation's capital, Victoria, where it will spend several days loading and testing equipment before the expedition.

The Nekton Mission involves researchers from more than 40 organizations who will spend seven weeks surveying underwater life, mapping the sea floor and dropping sensors to depths of up to 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) in the seas around the Seychelles.

Their aim is to document changes taking place beneath the waves that could affect billions of people throughout the Indian Ocean region over the coming decades.

The Seychelles, a collection of 115 islands with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants, is already feeling the effects of climate change, with rising water temperatures bleaching its coral reefs.

Scientists will use crewed submarines and remotely operated submersibles to visit the watery world below depths of 30 meters (100 feet) and hope they'll even find new species

The Associated Press is accompanying the expedition, providing live underwater video from submarines diving from the ship and using new optical transmission technology to broadcast the images worldwide.

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