Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, has advised President-elect Prabowo Subianto to purchase a research vessel fitted with modern equipment, particularly for mapping deep-sea resources and potential disasters.

"I will encourage him to make this a priority," he said on the sidelines of a press conference on the joint Indonesia-OceanX expedition, in Nusa Dua, Badung district, Bali, on Wednesday.

He informed that the government has prepared the budget to purchase exploration vessels with modern equipment for research purposes.

The price of exploration vessels, including the OceanXplorer owned by marine exploration non-profit OceanX, is estimated at Rp3.5 trillion (US$215 million).

The minister said that the research vessel does not have to be luxurious, but it must be equipped with sophisticated equipment.

"Indonesia must be more aggressive, we cannot wait any longer. We are a big country, we should have ships for research," he emphasized.

He also suggested cooperation with other agencies, both domestic and foreign, to map natural wealth in the deep sea as well as potential disasters centered on the seabed.

Non-profit organization OceanX's ship has sophisticated equipment, including a remote-operated vehicle (ROV), or a tool capable of diving at depths of up to six thousand meters. It can carry two researchers/operators on board and comes with a laboratory.

"This vessel has the most advanced technology and our young generation should learn from it. It can operate like a floating university," he said.

Pandjaitan explained that more than 70 percent of Indonesia's territory is sea, with a coastline of more than 108 thousand kilometers and 17,504 islands.

Indonesia's marine wealth also includes biodiversity, fisheries, blue carbon, and new and renewable energy, which has helped put its marine areas on one of the global trade routes.

However, only around 19 percent of Indonesia's waters have been mapped and still less have been explored, especially the deep sea.

Indonesia's deep water points include the Java Trench, whose depth is estimated at 7,180 meters; the Banda Sea, which reaches a depth of 7,440 meters; and the Sulawesi Sea, which is 6,200 meters deep.

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Translator: Dewa Ketut S W, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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