Reclamation work on $1.8bn Al Marjan starts
Ras Al Khaimah, October 9, 2007
Reclamation work has started for the Al Marjan Islands, an ambitious $1.8 billion man-made island development off the coast of Ras Al Khaimah.
Rakeen, one of the region's most dynamic property developers and master planners, is undertaking the greatest precautions and using state-of-the-art dredging techniques and technologies in order to ensure that the Al Marjan Islands are developed with the highest level of environmental responsibility, said a top official.
Rakeen has contracted Dredging International, a leading international company specialising in amongst other things the construction of man-made islands, to carry out the dredging, reclamation and rock revetment works on this project, the first of its kind to be developed in Ras Al Khaimah.
Using sophisticated techniques and a highly advanced computer telecommunications system, ensuring precise satellite navigation and positioning, Dredging International has been tasked to complete the reclamation work with the highest level of accuracy, efficiency, safety and cost effectiveness, said Dr Imad Haffar, COO of Rakeen.
'The Al Marjan Island project has been designed to be a haven for luxurious living and unparalleled leisure and recreation. Rakeen has meticulously master planned all phases of the project to incorporate the most environmentally friendly practices during construction of the islands and throughout its lifetime ensuring multi-levelled sustainability of the project. This way, we guarantee occupants a lifetime premium with the most conducive living environment in terms of health, safety, security and amenities,' Haffar said.
Located 27km southwest of the Ras Al Khaimah town centre, the Al Marjan Island project is a cluster of four coral-shaped islands dotted with a variety of water homes, floating villas, hotels, resorts, sporting facilities and commercial spaces over a total area of 2.7 million sq m.
Rakeen has rejected 'hostile dredging' techniques to create the man-made islands, preferring a more natural approach by using surface fill with coarse earth material. In shallow waters and up to two km away from the original shore line, land reclamation was carried out using land back filling. The remaining areas of the islands are currently being reclaimed using sub-sea sand pumping. The sand is outsourced from deep offshore borrow areas very far away from the furthest point of the top of the islands, in order to not disturb the marine ecology, he said.
Shallow surface reclamation along with sub-sea pumping, as opposed to the method of rain-bowing, eliminates the need for dredging channels in shallow waters and avoids sea bed siltation thus maintaining crystal clear waters around the islands for its inhabitants to bask in and enjoy. Additionally, instead of concrete ripraps that are visually unappealing and harmful to marine life, Rakeen has used over four million pieces of natural rock that are carefully laid one at a time for building the essential breakwaters.
'The rocks add a long-term value to the project as they will generate more marine life and help reef formation, giving birth to a new 'natural' wonder in Ras Al Khaimah and adding lustre to the underwater paradise of the Arabian Gulf. We are confident that with the latest technology and careful planning, we will create a self-sustaining community that our clients will be proud to call their home,' said project manager Dr Fawzi Shadid.
The first step towards building a man-made island is to make a prospective design that sets as priority efficient water circulation and ensures highest water quality whilst maintaining stable beaches. For that state of art simulation, specialised computer technologies are utilised including flushing and water quality modelling. A physical model created by a professional marine consultant determined the height, the size and the weight of the armour rock and guaranteeing its persistence against the hi