Van Oord delivers the first coral engine in the Bahamas
Van Oord has reached a major achievement in environmentally responsible maritime infrastructure development with the formal delivery and handover of the first coral engine in the Bahamas. The in-house developed innovation is ground-breaking in the maritime industry, the company said in its press release.
A coral engine is an underwater coral nursery that contains both locally sourced coral fragments and sexually produced coral juveniles of varying ages. As the corals grow, the coral engine provides a continuous source of outplaceable corals with which local stakeholders can create and, if necessary, rehabilitate their coral reefs. On 28 August, in the presence of 150 invitees including Mr. Bannister, Minister of Works, the maintenance of the coral engine was handed over to local partners Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas, Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation and Royal Bahamas Defence Force. They will maintain the nursery and encourage conservation groups, schools, members of the public and tourists to visit the site and become actively involved with its continued development and the subsequent outplacement activities.
Over the past few years, Van Oord has been involved in several dredging and marine works around New Providence, Bahamas. Various measures to protect the vulnerable surrounding corals were taken. Corals that were located in the footprint of the access channel were relocated to a recipient site nearby to ensure their preservation. In addition to the relocation, Van Oord was actively involved in the breeding of coral. ‘We shipped our mobile coral breeding facility ReefGuard to the Bahamas and produced thousands of sexual recruits obtained from local spawning events on our preconditioned settlement substrates with the help of local volunteers. The sexually produced coral recruits of various ages have been combined with a number of coral fragments to form a coral engine’, explains Mark van Koningsveld, Van Oord’s Manager Research & Development Engineering.
Sandy Bottom project
In 2014, the government of the Bahamas, Van Oord and DAMEN Shipyards signed an agreement for a rigorous upgrade of the naval bases on three islands and the delivery of a fleet of new patrol vessels. ‘Our scope in the Sandy Bottom project includes dredging, constructing several breakwaters and quay walls and corresponding civil engineering works’, says Van Oord’s Area Director Mark Roelofs. ‘The work is spread out over sites up to 700 km apart. We expect to finish the construction works by the end of September this year. When working in vulnerable areas like this, we take into account the interests of the environment and our stakeholders. Van Oord’s delivery of the coral engine and associated deployment of the ReefGuard are good examples of this. This also proves the outstanding engineering capabilities of our colleagues involved and are showcases of our Marine ingenuity.’