LEIV EIRIKSSON just finished reclaiming Phase 2 of Hulhumale island (Phase 1 was created in 1997) in the Maldives.
The Maldives is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean.
Population is 300.000 souls, half of them live on a few square miles on Male and Hulhumale. Some 800.000 tourists visit yearly.
Male island, capital of the Maldives. Hulhumale in the background.
But, it's a troubled paradise: the Maldives are amongst the lowest laying land in the world, its highest point is 1.9 meter above sea level.
Projections for the year 2010 show a 70 % loss of land, with a estimated 50 cm rise of the sea level. The 2004 tsunami showed clearly the vulnerability of the islands.
The Maldivian government has identified problems and potential strategies for adapting to rising seas, and has also considered relocating the entire nation to a new homeland.
One such strategy is to use dredging techniques to improve the lay of the land.
Since the population is scattered all over the archipelago, and it is a logistical a nightmare, providing education, healthcare, etc... government wants to concentrate the population more. For this purpose, Hulhumale island was recleaimed from 1997 onwards, and now further extended. It will be the site of a future city.
TSHD "LEIV EIRIKSSON", seen from site office in the old Club Med on Faru island
Over a period of nine weeks, from January to March 2015, LEIV EIRIKSSON digested 7 million m3 of sand, dredged on the seabed inside the large atolls, an disgorged it around the small resort island of Faru, creating a new platform on top of the reef flats.
The project was finished on time, and without mishaps.
And just for once, we did not sail in a decor of relentless industrial activity, but in a forgotten paradise, in water so clear, with dolphins playing around the ship.
Preparing discharge area before arrival of LEIV EIRIKSSON. Faru island in center.
Faru island on right, sand reclaimed all around, reclamation in full swing.
Marc Van de Velde