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A deep-sea scientific mission to uncharted depths in the Maldives and Seychelles will gather valuable data to support the Commonwealth Blue Charter on ocean action and train local scientists.

The newest Commonwealth member country, Maldives, joined Seychelles to launch a major joint scientific expedition to investigate unexplored depths of the Indian Ocean.

The ground-breaking multidisciplinary research mission, known as ‘First Descent: Midnight Zone’, was officially launched at the Commonwealth headquarters at Marlborough House. 

Led by the UK research institute Nekton, the goal is to boost the sustainable governance of Seychelles and Maldivian waters, including the protection of 629,000 square kilometers of ocean. 

It supports the Commonwealth Blue Charter: a shared commitment by member countries to protect the ocean from the effects of climate change, pollution and overfishing.

A 50-person crew will set sail on March 16, 2020, using the world’s most advanced deep diving submersible, equipped with a suite of research tools including sensor and mapping technology. 

The data they collect will help countries define conservation and management priorities and map out marine protected areas. It will also help measure the impact of climate change and human activity in the area. 

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