The Palm Islands are an incredible feat of engineering and creativity. Built off the coast of Dubai in the Persian Gulf, these man-made peninsulas are a sight to behold. The Belgian company Jan De Nul and Dutch company Van Oord used sand dredged from the bottom of the Persian Gulf to create them. To do so, they took advantage of a process known as ‘rain-bowing’ whereby sand was sprayed in arcs from dredging ships which were guided by GPS. To protect each island, a large rock breakwater was constructed around its outer edge. This breakwater for Palm Jumeirah alone consists of over seven million tons of rocks which were placed individually (and signed off by a diver) with GPS coordinates for accuracy.
Jan De Nul Group started working on the Palm Jebel Ali in 2002 and completed it by 2006. As part of this reclamation project, they created a four-kilometre-long peninsula which is protected by a 200-metre wide circular breakwater that stretches seventeen kilometres long. During this time, 210 million cubic metres of rock, sand and limestone were reclaimed – partly originating from Jebel Ali Entrance Channel dredging works – with approximately 10 million cubic metres used for slope protection works.
If you’re looking to learn more about how these artificial islands came into being, then be sure to check out the documentary dedicated to them! You’ll get an inside look at how these islands were built and gain insight into the logistical challenges that needed to be overcome in order to complete them. From their ecological impact on the surrounding area to their potential uses in tourism, you won’t want to miss out on this amazing story!