Boskalis jaarverslagen 2011

Environmental expertise


Our clients can rely on our environmental expertise. Our environmental expertise has the greatest added value in projects where we are brought in early at the design stage as a partner to the client. But we also seek to apply environmentally friendly working methods and techniques in executing our projects and contracts, and are able to draw on over 100 experts from our R&D and other departments as well as engineers and ecologists from our own engineering consultancy Hydronamic.

The sustainable applications we offer our clients are in some cases complex and innovative. Eco-dynamic designs according to the Building with Nature philosophy are a good example. Another example is our innovative approach to protecting coral reefs, as applied on the Khalifa Port project in Abu Dhabi where we developed a major offshore port close to the largest coral reef in the Persian Gulf (see our 2010 CSR report). But sometimes only minor adjustments are involved, such as suggesting that a new beach is constructed on a slightly less smaller incline so that it remains accessible to sea turtles.

Our expertise can also be called in for the remediation of contaminated sediment. Our subsidiary Boskalis Dolman executes noteworthy soil remediation projects around the world, and in doing so seeks to re-use as much material as possible.

SMIT has been instrumental in developing new solutions for the safe, pollution-free removal of cargo and bunkers from casualties.
The hot-tap technology guarantees a spill-free extraction of any contained fluids either above or under water from vessels aground or sunk at water depths up to at least 250 meters. Amongst others, the hot-tap technology is applied to remove the pollutants from the grounded Costa Concordia, Italy, 2012. The POLREC system is applied to remove oil and chemicals from vessels lying on the seabed in very deep water, without the assistance of divers and in an environmentally safe manner. The system uses a ROLS unit (Remote-operated Offloading System) for the recovery of pollutants at water depths up to 500 meters. Further developments in the near future will significantly improve productivity and efficiency and allow the system to work at even greater depths up to at least 1,000 meters.

Research and knowledge sharing

In order to maintain our leading role we invest in fundamental and applied research on an ongoing basis. Our research focuses on limiting our ecological impact by reducing emissions (see elsewhere in this section) and mitigating turbidity during dredging projects. During dredging work the seabed is churned up and the resulting temporary reduction in the incidence of light in the water can be harmful to underwater plant and animal life. By developing advanced forecasting models and monitoring programs we are able to analyse the turbidity at any given time and adjust the execution of the work accordingly.

To give a further boost to knowledge exchange and awareness, in 2011 we launched an environment portal. Working groups dealing with sustainability issues can use the web application to share information so that we develop an active ‘Community of Practice’ in this area. We engage in external knowledge sharing through lectures, guest lecturer positions, readerships and presentations, and by participating in fundamental research programs and supervising committees of PhD students.

In addition SMIT is increasingly being asked to participate in and contribute expertise and knowledge to ambitious, large-scale Joint Industry Projects like OBELICS. The knowledge and tools developed are used to increase operational safety, improve services and reduce the environmental impact. For more information please refer to our CSR 2010 report.

Boskalis also contributes to the dissemination of knowledge through the Building with Nature program described in this section. For example in 2011 a dual lecturership was established between Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University aimed at providing further structure to the innovation and broadening of the discipline. This innovation, initiated by Boskalis, has been embraced by both universities. The knowledge exchange regarding the Building with Nature program gathered pace in 2011. The draft version of the ‘Eco-dynamic design manual’ has been completed. The manual, which contains general guidelines that can be applied anywhere in the world, will be published on the Ecoshape website ( In May 2011 Ecoshape held a mid-term conference at which all the results to date were presented to partners and clients. The closing conference is scheduled for November 2012, at the end of the first planning period, when we want to share all the results of the first five years of Building with Nature with a wide audience.

Added to My report add to My report Source: CSR Report 2011, Our environmental performance, page 46