When Dubai Ports (DP) World began planning its port at Caucedo in the Dominican Republic, the required environmental assessment revealed 300 colonies of coral in the spot the company needed to dredge. Community outreach also indicated that the area was popular with divers, drawing significant tourist income to a region with a high unemployment rate and little potential for other development. Though coral relocation was not an obligation or pre-condition by the Environment Ministry for the issuance of the environmental license, Caucedo developers arranged to move the coral in the safest manner possible—floated in underwater air balloons—before port construction began in 2001. The coral colonies were flourishing in their new location by the time operations began at Caucedo in late 2003. The delicate operation to transfer coral was a first for the Dominican Republic and DP World.
The successful replanting has spawned new species of coral, which is now visited by over 1,500 divers annually. “We have set an example for other companies, showing that you can protect the environment while doing business,” said Morten Johansen, Executive Director of DP World.