The Maldives Mission 2022 is an expedition to undertake the first systematic discovery and documentation of ocean life in Maldives from the surface to 1000metres. The research will inform the designation of extensive new marine protected areas and the sustainable management of Maldives’ ocean.

The Mission is a partnership between the Government of Republic of Maldives and Nekton, a UK marine research institute. Two expedition vessels will deploy over a dozen subsea survey and sampling technologies including two of the most advanced human operated submersibles, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and other autonomous systems.

“The ocean is a key part of each Maldivian. 71% rely on the ocean for their primary source of income. We have committed to a 5-year initiative to advance ocean protection and sustainably develop the blue economy. This Mission will help us establish the long-term sustainability of our economic growth, livelihoods and jobs through establishing marine protected areas to build ocean resilience”

- His Excellency, President Ibrahim Mohamid Solih of Maldives.

Dates: 4th September to 7th October 2022

The International Team: A total of c. 50 people on two expedition ships including scientists, submersible crew, surveyors, ship crew and media teams. The scientific team are drawn from Maldives, UK, Seychelles, India, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

First Descent: Aquanaut Programme: Scientists from Maldives will undertake First Descents in the Mission’s three-person submersibles, Omega Seamaster II and Aurelia.


  • Applied Research: Establishing a baseline of marine life and the state of the ocean in Maldives.
  • Ocean Governance: Marine Spatial Planning including designating new protected areas across 20% of Maldivian territorial waters (184,000km2 of 923,000km2).
  • Public Engagement: Inspiring and engaging Maldivian, Indian Ocean and international audiences with the scientific exploration and protection of the Indian Ocean.
  • Knowledge sharing: Development of the leadership, tools, skills, knowledge and networks within the Maldives and regionally to empower long-term sustainable ocean governance.

Maldives Partners

  • Government of Maldives: Office of the President, Government Ministries - Fisheries, Environment, Tourism and Defence and Maldives Meteorological Services
  • Research / Academic: Maldives Marine Research Institute, IUCN Maldives
  • Civil Society Organisations: Noo Rajjee, IPNLF, Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme, Manta Trust, Coral Research Institute, The International Pole & Line Foundation, Small Island Research Group.

Nekton’s Alliance: International Partners

Mission Partner: Omega

Expedition Partner: OCEEF – Ocean Conservation, Exploration and Education Foundation

Strategic Partners:

  • Teledyne Marine: Official Subsea Technology Partner
  • Inmarsat: Official Satellite Communications Partner
  • Associated Press: Official News Agency Partner
  • Helly Hansen: Official Apparel Partner
  • SAAB Seaeye: Official ROV Partner
  • Kensington Tours: Official Tourism Partner
  • Commonwealth Blue Charter

Collaborating Partners:

  • SAIAB: Research and Technology Partner
  • University of Oxford: Academic Partner (Marine Ecology and Conservation Research Group)
  • Paralenz: Subsea Imaging Partner
  • Sonardyne: Subsea technology Partner
  • Natural History Museum (UK): ROV Partner
  • REV Ocean: Submersible Partner
  • Triton: Submersible Operations
  • Priavo: Official Maritime Security Partner
  • Encounter EDU & AXA: Official Education Partner
  • Great Campaign & UK Government & FCDO.
  • EYOS: Expedition logistics, Risk analysis
  • UK Natural History Museum: ROV Partner
  • Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST): Institutional Partner
  • Alfametal: Specialist Engineering