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Fulfilling the need for space

  • Over 600-kilometre-long project site
  • Relocated significant numbers of coral species
  • Average ground level approximately 1.2 metres above sea level

Spread in a beautiful clear blue ocean are some 1,200 small, sandy islands, only 196 of which are inhabited: The Maldives. One third of the approximately 350,000 inhabitants live in Male, the capital. The city is getting congested and there is not enough space to house the families coming to the island looking for work and healthcare. Van Oord reclaimed land to enlarge a number of islands, protecting them with rock revetments and making development possible. Our client, the Maldives Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure, can now spread government and social facilities over other islands and improve accessibility to, for example, hospitals and trade hubs.

Relocating coral

Van Oord took an active role in protecting the environment during execution, something which was positively acknowledged by our client. The goal was to minimise the short- and long-term impact of this project on the marine environment, including by relocating significant numbers of coral species, shifting them away from the reclamation areas. Our environmental engineers were permanently assigned to the project, monitoring the local coral population, conducting various surveys, and monitoring spill and turbidity. They also provided assistance to our client during liaison sessions with the local community. Save the Beach, a local NGO, was contracted to assist in monitoring the reefs.

Looking after logistics

With a project site over 600 kilometres long and remote locations to be reclaimed, proper planning and preparation were essential. Van Oord had to bring everything required to execute the work. Basic facilities such as temporary jetties needed to be built, and various equipment and materials were mobilised over long distances. That included not only the materials needed for the reclamation activities, but also those for the rock revetment that was being installed. The required rock was imported from outside the Maldives. 

We are regularly involved in projects that make a real difference. Thanks to Van Oord’s efforts, the Maldives can continue to develop. It’s a win-win situation to which we’re happy to contribute as export credit insurer.

Bert Bruning, Director Atradius Dutch State Business
Bert Bruning, Director Atradius Dutch State Business

Valuable reclamation

The reclamation works have proven to be very valuable to the government of the Maldives as it works to continue developing the nation and to alleviate the congestion in Male. For that same purpose, Van Oord was requested to carry out additional reclamation work at Male itself, which was successfully executed despite the short notice.

The capital Male has been significantly overcrowded and congested due to the migration of families from other islands, in order to seek adequate education, jobs, healthcare, and other facilities. The government focused on a policy of population consolidation to development urban regional centres. As such there is a requirement for additional land required for development activities and residential zones which would cater to existing island population as well as attract others from smaller populated islands with lack of access to adequate facilities.

Dredging Contractor Van Oord was awarded the contract to execute the reclamation works. Van Oord’s expertise, on time delivery and skilled employees contributed to the success of this complex project including a high level of care for the specific nature reserves as available in the Maldives. Now the government can start spreading facilities over other islands and improve accessibility for our inhabitants.

Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure, Maldives
Additional information
  • Start date
    November 2015
  • End date
    December 2016
  • Location
  • Business Unit
    Middle East and West Asia
  • Client
    Maldives Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure