The Indian Government has approved a Rs4,900m loan ($104.4m) for the construction of an ice-class research vessel.

According to an official working on the project, the ship will also be used to break ice and transport supplies in the Antarctic, Arctic, Southern Ocean and Indian Ocean.

Accommodating 60 scientists, the vessel will have a helicopter pad, research equipment and instrumentation facilities.

The Indian Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the funds while the Ministry of Earth Sciences will implement the project through its autonomous National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research in Goa.

The vessel is expected to be acquired by March 2013.