Customer Profile :

NIO Introduction


National Institue of Oceanography Karachi, Pakistan


The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) is located in Karachi. It was established in 1981 by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of Pakistan MoST. Its Head Office is at Clifton Karachi, with three sub-stations at Gwadar, Sonmiani and Ghora Bari. The main area of research of the Institute is the north Arabian Sea and beyond. The oceanic and atmospheric processes of the north Arabian Sea modify our climate, offer numerous living and non-living resources, Oceanographic research brings together all the scientific disciplines needed to study the ocean: Departments

The ambit of oceanography extends from the atmosphere to the ocean floor and below it, and from the coastal region to the great mass of the deep oceans.

Pakistan coast is about 990 Km long extending from Indian border in the east to the Iranian border in the west. The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Pakistan is about 240,000 sq. km, with additional continental shelf area of about 50,000 sq. km. As such, the total maritime zone of Pakistan is over 30% of the land area. This region is characterized by distinctive oceanic phenomena, that produces rich fisheries, mineral, and hydrocarbon resource.


  1. Monsoon and climatic change
  2. Upwelling and circulation
  3. Mixing of Red Sea and Gulf Water
  4. Indus estuary and sedimentation
  5. Submarine Indus Cone
  6. Murray Fracture Zone (Leaky Transform Fault)
  7. Makran Subduction Margin


Extensive survey, data collection and research are required to understand the above processes and features which have direct bearing on locating the living and nonliving resources and their sustainable exploitation and conservation. The programme of NIO has been oriented and set up to develop the capabilities and facilities for achieving these objectives.

The latest major achievement of National Institute of Oceanography is the submission of Case for the Extension of Pakistan’s Continental Shelf to the United Nation’s Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). It is estimated that an area of more than 50,000 sq km of the extended continental shelf can be annexed to our existing 240,000 sq km offshore area of EEZ. The project will contribute directly to the petroleum and mineral sector in general and to the offshore maritime industry/market in particular.Latest high speed workstations and dedicated soft ware’s, such as CARIS LOTS, CARIS GIS, SEISVISION, HYPACK, VISTA, ARC VIEW, FLEDRMAUS and QTC5 are in use at NIO. The Institute is equipped to process and interpret bathymetric as well as 2D multi-channel seismic data. NIO is using MIKE-21 Hydrodynamical model and other sophisticated soft wares in oceanographic and coastal hydrodynamic studies. NIO through the acquisition of oceanographic Data and using dedicated models provide services for the solutions of coastal engineering problems, assistance in designing of ports and jetties, studies for stabilities of intake & outfall channels of power plants, desalination plants designed for coastal areas, prediction of physical environment for nearshore/offshore structures and desk studies of coastal hydrodynamics.

NIO has developed capabilities to offer consulting services on the following specialized subjects:

  • Oceanographic Surveys
  • Coastal Hydraulic Surveys and feasibility Studies
  • Bathymetric Surveys
  • Marine Exploration & Geo-Engineering Surveys
  • Marine Pollution and Environmental Surveys
  • Shrimp Farming
  • Oceanographic Data Services
  • Marine Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA’s)

The first objective to a great extent has been achieved. Presently 30 scientists are involved in oceanographic activities, 26 of these have been trained abroad. In addition there are, 39 supports staff on the roll of NIO. The Institute has its own building on the Clifton shore. For deep sea research NIO has access to a hydrographic cum oceanographic Research Vessel "Behr Paima". In addition to the main laboratories at Karachi, NIO also has a research station at Gwadar Baluchistan coast. NIO in a relatively a short period of its existence has made optimum use of the limited resources. It has initiated, conducted and completed a number of projects related to ocean research and has effectively responded to a wide variety of user's requirements, that is marine industry and national institutions involved in the field of marine research.

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