The workshop explored the latest research on the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea by New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and Marine Science Station (MSS), an inter-university research institute run by the University of Jordan and Yarmouk University.
It was attended by the Environmental Department of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) and MSS professors.
Through current field assessments and extensive research, AD Ports Group seeks to understand the marine ecology of the Red Sea and how infrastructure could enhance marine biodiversity in the Gulf of Aqaba.
Mitigating impact of developments, including Aqaba Cruise Terminal
This underscores AD Ports Group’s commitment to protecting marine life in Aqaba and mitigating the environmental impact of coastal developments, including its Aqaba Cruise Terminal. This facility is one of five strategic mega projects agreed upon with Aqaba Development Corp. in December 2021 to advance the coastal city’s tourism, logistics, transport and digital infrastructure sectors.
As part of the process, AD Ports Group is collaborating with local institutions, namely ASEZA and MSS, to access relevant Red Sea research.
'Driving sustainable and environmentally responsible operations where our projects are located is at the forefront of our priorities,' said David Gatward, chief engineering and technical services officer, AD Ports Group. 'For this reason, the joint NYUAD-MSS-ASEZA collaborative capacity-building workshop is a vital learning exercise that will guide how we design, construct and operate ports and marinas It also facilitates close collaboration with our local partners, raises awareness of the Red Sea’s remarkable coral reef system and ensures the preservation of these biologically and economically valuable resources.
'By combining global best practices for coral relocation with the successful project at Khalifa Port,' Gatward continued, 'our expert team stands ready to build the capacities of local cadres and equip them with pioneering and innovative methods and techniques to safeguard Aqaba’s marine wildlife ecosystems for future generations.'
Home to thriving marine life
'The Gulf of Aqaba is home to a thriving marine life with hundreds of coral and fish species inhabiting its waters,' said Dr. John A. Burt, program head for environmental studies and associate professor of biology, NYUAD.
'Creating an environment where this marine life can continue to survive, if not prosper, as coastal development in Aqaba expands is paramount. Our recent visit gave us an excellent opportunity to assess the Red Sea’s marine ecology first-hand, as well as meet with local specialists to share our experiences in the Arabian Gulf and gather insights specific to the Red Sea that will support conservation and sustainable development moving forward.”
In addition to the Aqaba Cruise Terminal, a world-class facility for international cruise passengers looking to tour Jordan, specifically Aqaba, Petra and Wadi Rum, AD Ports Group’s strategic agreements with Aqaba Development Corp. include Marsa Zayed, Maqta Ayla for the development and operation of an advanced ports community system, Aqaba Multipurpose Port and the rehabilitation of King Hussein International Airport.
All are intended to help position Aqaba as a major regional destination and create jobs, investment and economic development.