The importance of sustainability in dredging

In this webinar, the topic of sustainability in dredging will be linked to the Saly Coastal Protection Project in Senegal.


The importance of sustainability in dredging.


Saly Portudal is one of the coastal communities worldwide suffering from sea-level rise and the other negative effects of accelerated climate change. The project, which encompasses the touristic area of Saly, aims to protect people, houses, economic and cultural infrastructure in the region against coastal erosion. After the beaches started to disappear at the end of the nineties, the largest tour operator in the Senegalese village departed and hotel room prices fell. As the number of tourists dwindled, so did the household incomes of Saly Portudal’s many local craftsmen. Van Oord was called in to reinforce and revitalise the coastline. Maarten Meeder and Joffrey Cary of Van Oord will explain the biggest challenges and impact on the environment during the execution of the project as well as how Van Oord implemented sustainability in this project.

The project consisted of the construction of 12 detached parallel breakwaters and a number of small groynes. After construction of the breakwaters and groynes, the beach was nourished with approximately 600.000 m3 of sand. The rocks were sourced from a local quarry and installed using dry earth moving equipment. The sand was dredged in an offshore borrow area with the trailing suction hopper dredger Dravo Costa Dorada and pumped ashore through a 2.5-kilometre-long floating pipeline.


Anyone interested in all aspects of dredging and land reclamation.


No prior knowledge is necessary.


Maarten Meeder is Regional Manager Africa for Van Oord. 48 years young, he is always looking for new challenges and loves travelling. Maarten has more than 20 years of experience in the dredging industry, many of those years spent working in Africa, including Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria. Maarten has a strong connection with the ocean, living a stone’s throw away from the coastline and is a fanatic kite surfer.

Joffrey Cary is a Project Manager at Van Oord. He joined the company 14 years ago after having worked in road construction for a number of years. He is 36 years old and from France. Joffrey has worked on all continents and most recently led the Saly Coastal Protection Project. Sticking to his personal principles in his daily work is very important to him. Even outside working hours, he is always busy starting new projects: he always finds a wall to tear down and then build something better.


This Senegalese town used to be a popular tourist destination in Africa until the natural forces of the Atlantic Ocean, driven by climate change, washed away its sandy beaches. Saly is the beating heart of the Senegalese tourist industry on the Petite Côte. Tourism is the main source of income for its 20,000 inhabitants. Over the past few decades, however, beach erosion has driven away the tourists. Hotels have shut down and corresponding revenues disappeared, with disastrous economic consequences. In addition to the forces of nature, human interventions have also weakened the coastal defence, such as the construction of a small craft harbour and groynes upstream of the beaches, disturbing the longshore sand transport and deposit downstream along Saly’s coast. Van Oord was called in to reinforce and revitalise the coastline.


To revitalise Saly’s fragile local economy and prevent flood damage, the World Bank financed a coastal protection scheme. Van Oord was selected to build groynes and detached breakwaters over a distance of 4.5 kilometres. These structures stop the currents and waves from battering the coastline and help to protect the land against rising sea levels.

Van Oord also restored Saly’s golden beaches, deploying trailing suction hopper dredger Dravo Costa Dorada to dredge and deposit some 550,000 cubic metres of sand for a brand-new coastline. ‘We contracted a quarry nearby to deliver more than 300,000 tonnes of rock for the marine structures. The local economy benefited from this way of working,’ explains Regional Manager Maarten Meeder. ‘We also engaged regional subcontractors.’ The project team was eager to help Saly’s inhabitants make their living environment more sustainable and launched a public information project about plastic litter. ‘We placed rubbish bins at a large state school and talked to 800 schoolchildren about the risks that plastic litter poses to health and the environment. Afterwards, we rolled up our sleeves and collected plastic litter in the bins for recycling.’


IADC presents a series of interactive free webinars with experts from the dredging sector. Topics discussed are all based on high-profile projects.