The 2004 tsunami left a trail of destruction throughout southeast Asia. One of the areas affected by the natural disaster was the Maldives, a group of 1,190 small coral islands. On the island of Vilufushi homes and infrastructure were destroyed and all the residents had to be evacuated.


Boskalis was contracted to perform the coastal defense and land reclamation work needed to rebuild Vilufushi. All the debris had to be removed and the island needed to be raised in height and increased in size. Construction work also included a 2-kilometer rock revetment around the island and a new port with a quay wall and breakwaters.


The waters surrounding Vilufushi Island have a rich marine biodiversity and it was imperative to protect the coral reefs and seagrass meadows during the dredging work. 


Boskalis took the following measures to limit the release of suspended solids into the ocean and onto the coral:

  • Work was only started once the four bunds around the reclamation area had been completed and the area had been closed off from the ocean;
  • The run-off water was allowed to flow through the entire reclamation area before being discharged to the ocean;
  • The discharge point of the reclamation area was situated in the old harbor, thus providing a final settling basin before the run-off water ended up in the ocean;
  • A silt screen was placed in the old harbor around the discharge point for the reclamation area;
  • An extensive environmental monitoring plan was implemented to detect any adverse changes in the environment.


Thanks to both the extensive mitigation measures and continuous monitoring, damage to the precious coral reef was minimal. Vilufushi is now one of the islands identified by the Maldivian government as being safe in the event of a catastrophe.

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