Canadian Consulting Engineer

Dubai creates artificial islands

August 8, 2005
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

While locations such as Hong Kong have created artificial islands for airports and chemical terminals, in the Emira...

While locations such as Hong Kong have created artificial islands for airports and chemical terminals, in the Emirate of Dubai massive land creation projects are under way to create beachfront resorts for the rich and famous.
The Emirate of Dubai is constructing three artificial islands over the next five years. The idea is to create as much water frontage as possible, so they are designed like palm trees. A fourth island will consist of 265 smaller islands that together form a map of the world. The World Archipelago project will total 320 million cubic metres of sand and 30 million metric tons of rock. The amount is said to be equivalent to building a Great Wall of China two metres wide and four metres high around the equator. Singer Rod Stewart is rumoured to have bought the island representing England.
Dutch contractor Van Oord nd Belgian contractor Jan De Nul are moving the mountains of rock and sand necessary to create the islands, as well as the large breakwaters being constructed to protect them. Palm Island II, for example, requires 135 million cubic metres of sand and rock, and a 17 kilometre breakwater to be created around the island.
A spokesperson from Jan De Nul, explains the challenge of the work. “In itself, our project, Palm Island II, is not particularly difficult. After all, the seabed consists of stone and sand — the normal circumstances for our operations. However, the massive scale of these projects and the speed with which they must be completed — in only three years — makes them special.”
The majority of the sand for Palm Island II was collected from a site 30 kilometres away using trailing hopper suction dredgers. A hopper suction dredger extracts the sand, removes the water and sails to the unloading point. The company has four trailing hopper suction dredgers at work on the site, each with a hopper capacity of 11,000 and 18,000 cubic metres of sand. Each completes four round trips per day.


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