Palm workers will live on a ‘converted’ ferry

Converted passenger ferry will be home to 7000 construction workers on the Palm Jumeirah.

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By  Sean Cronin Published  January 14, 2006

Up to 7000 workers on the Palm Jumeirah will be forced to live on the decks of a converted passenger ferry, moored alongside the artificial island. Construction Week has learned that the ferry has already set sail from the port of Athens in Greece and is due to arrive in Dubai within the next week. As the project enters its peak construction phase, developer Nakheel and contractors on the site face a logistical nightmare. Moving workers on and off site by road would mean that hundreds of buses would clog the access routes onto the island at the beginning and end of every shift. So Nakheel has taken the radical step of acquiring a passenger ferry to accommodate them. It will be converted to house the thousands of workers set to crowd onto the site in coming months, as the construction of hotels and villas on the island reaches its peak. Marwan Al Qamzi, Nakheel head of procurement and contracts, confirmed that the passenger ferry would be converted into a floating labour camp. He said: “The ship has already left Greece and should take three weeks to arrive in Dubai. “It will take up to another month to modify,” he added. Around 500 construction workers already live in a purpose-built labour camp on site, but their number will increase to around 1000 this week. Al Qamzi said that the workers currently living in the camp would be moved to the ship once it had been re-fitted. As construction work on the Palm moves into its most frentic stage, the developers face a mammoth logistical challenge to ensure the smooth flow of labour and materials onto the site. Hundreds of villas are already under construction, and fit-out work is underway on around 40 apartment buildings that flank the east side of the Palm’s ‘trunk’. Construction has also started on the first of 25 new hotels which will be built on the island — including the US $400 million Palm Trump International Hotel. In addition to the building work already underway, construction will soon start on the $390 million monorail which will run along the trunk of the island.

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