By Tom Arnold
Coral moved from Dubai Dry Docks to The World to avoid damage from construction.
Nakheel said on Tuesday 5,500 tonnes of coral it transported last year to The World development was responding well to its new habitat.Marine life experts found 93 percent of the coral was undamaged following the movement from Dubai Dry Docks of 1,129 rocks – which are home to 18 species of coral and more than 30 species of fish, in addition to various sponges, sea-squirts and urchins.
The decision was taken to move the coral to the breakwaters of the developer’s man-made archipelago because of potential environmental impacts of planned construction in the area around the dry docks, Nakheel said in a release.
Over a seven week period between April and June 2008, the master developer coordinated the movement of the rocks, with an average weight of five tonnes each, which cover an area of 6,560 square metres – around the size of a football pitch.
“A project on this scale has never before been attempted and I am delighted with the results we are seeing at The World thanks to the unique method of translocation,” said John Burt, an assistant professor at Zayed University’s natural science and public health department, which monitored the project.
Nakheel on Tuesday revealed details of the pioneering technique it used in the operation, which involved drilling a bolt into each rock before attaching a sling to hoist the rocks to a depth of three metres below the water surface where they were attached to a transport barge.
The corals remained suspended in the water throughout the relocation process, resulting in reduced stress levels and a lower damage rate than found when using traditional methods of translocation, such as crow-bars, underwater drills and cranes, the developer said.
The 27-kilometre breakwaters surround The World, a cluster of 300 man-made islands that Nakheel is building in the shape of a world map off the coast of Dubai.
Despite delaying a number of its projects due to the global economic downturn, Nakheel, said in January work was continuing on the development.