The Falmouth Cruise Terminal has been initiated by the Port Authority of Jamaica and Royal Caribbean and was designed to host the largest cruise ships in the world, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Boskalis was awarded the contract for the marine works. The project started in 2009 after receiving the permits and beach licences from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and ended in July 2010.
Working in a sensitive environment
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted in 2007 indicated that besides coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass the project area contained also sensitive marine resources such as star fish, sponges, lobsters, sea-urchins, conch and bioluminescent phytoplankton (glistening waters) and identified the following potential impacts from the project:
- Loss of habitat and diversity including coral cover, fish habitat, seagrass beds and bioluminescent plankton;
- Increased turbidity and sedimentation level.
Mitigation of environmental impacts
The environmental permits and licenses for the construction of the terminal issued by the NEPA came with strict environmental requirements focusing mainly on the protection of corals, seagrass and benthic fauna in the dredging footprint.
Hydronamic, the in-house engineering company of Boskalis, developed and executed a large-scale Environmental Management Plan in close collaboration with NEPA and coral reef specialists from Deltares, Rotterdam Zoo and Sustainable Oceans International to preserve the biological resources meeting the requirements in the permits and licences.