As the commercial and financial capital of Africa’s most populous country, the Nigerian city of Lagos is facing two major challenges. The first one is the ever continuing inflow of new inhabitants, sucked in by a region which already represents 60 percent of the Nigerian economy. The massive immigration increases the pressure and threatens the livability in this 17-million agglomeration. The second challenge comes from the seaside: the erosion of the coastline due to the sea level rising and the very strong Atlantic swell, which attacks the city almost right-angled. At the promenade along Bar Beach, the sea has eroded almost one kilometer of land in the past one hundred years.
All along Lagos Lagoon, the city is built on the water and is criss-crossed by river-arms, creeks, and water outlets. In this over-crowded agglomeration transport too often comes to a standstill in notorious traffic jams that completely block the bridges between the city-islets. Facing the challenges of geographic location, increasing population and never-fading erosion, project developers are carrying out various major estate developments which rapidly change the skyline of Africa’s largest metropolis, except one. Adjacent to up-market business districts in Ikoyi and Victoria Island, the neighbourhood of Ilubirin will eventually provide upscale housing.
The construction of new islands in Lagos Lagoon requires dredging and reclamation. What the sea has taken through year-long erosion of the coast line, is now reclaimed for the benefit of future development. The Ilubirin reclamation project is a fine example of what is underscored by the DEME corporate tagline: ‘To create land for the Future.’
The project is executed by Dredging International Services Nigeria Ltd (DISN), a full subsidiary of DEME, on behalf of the client SPA Dredging. The scope of the first phase, which is currently awarded, includes transport of material for the reclamation, to be borrowed at a designated location some 5 km from the site. The estimated volume of the reclamation is 2,5 million m³ and an additional volume of 1 million m³ as overburden. Finally, some basic shore protection works must be carried out. All works of phase 1 must be completed by the end of 2015.
Apart from auxiliary vessels, excavators, cranes and loaders, DEME has assigned its 10.896 kW cutter suction dredger ‘Rubens’ to the Ilubirin reclamation project. In order to reach the reclamation site, the 100,6 m long dredger had to sail under the Lagos bridges. This required sawing up and dismantling the higher parts of the vessel, such as the ship’s bridge.