There has been enormous success and growth in the cruise industry in Abu Dhabi in recent years. In response to this, the facilities at Zayed Port have been developed by Abu Dhabi Ports (AD Ports), who were then seeking to develop and enhance the overall proposition for cruise businesses in Abu Dhabi. This includes a completely new destination targeted towards cruise vessels, beach goers and day trippers, located at Sir Bani Yas, a natural island 170km west of Abu Dhabi city. 

Royal HaskoningDHV was commissioned to develop the new marine and cruise facilities for this island location. The scope of the project was to include:

  • Coastal analysis
  • Study of anchoring for cruise vessels and pontoons for tenders
  • Concept design and specification for development of beach, shore protection and causeway facilities
  • Marine safety and operational risk assessment (regarding navigation of cruise vessels in relation to the applicable petroleum port regime)

In addition, two cruise calls during the 2015 cruise season were monitored and studies in order to identify any additional requirements or unforeseen issues which would be key to creating safe and efficient operations at the new destination.

Royal HaskoningDHV identified, studied and compared a number of options for mooring cruise vessels. These included anchoring, single point mooring, multi buoy mooring and jetty structures. The most economical, safe and feasible option was subsequently identified as offshore anchoring, in conjunction with transport of passengers to shore via tenders. A pontoon arrangement was also developed in order to match the requirements of safe and efficient transfer of large numbers of passengers (including the elderly and disabled). Safety and environmental risks, associated with operation of passenger vessels in an area under a petroleum port regime, were identified and recommendations were made to mitigate any risks.

The study we provided has enabled AD Ports to tender for construction of all marine facilities and causeway structure at Sir Bani Yas Island, enabling the safe arrival of cruise vessels at this destination in 2016. We ensured that all potential operational and navigational risks were promptly identified and assessed at a very early stage, in cooperation with stakeholders – this further facilitated efficient, safe vessel operations and maximised the safety of all passengers.

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