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The World Islands

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Title: The World Islands  
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Subject: List of artificial islands, List of Fairfield University people, History of Dubai, List of development projects in Dubai
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The World Islands

The World
View of The World in early 2009
Location U.A.E
Archipelago The World
Length 9 km (5.6 mi)
Width 6 km (3.7 mi)

The World or World Islands is an artificial archipelago of various small islands constructed in the rough shape of a world map, located 4.0 kilometres (2.5 mi) off the coast of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.[1] The World islands are composed mainly of sand dredged from Dubai's shallow coastal waters, and are one of several artificial island developments in Dubai.[1] The World's developer is Nakheel Properties, and the project was originally conceived by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.

As of 2010, only a single island had any building on it, which was a show home - all the other projects having been cancelled or delayed due to the 2008 financial crisis.[2] While the developer, Dubai government, and researchers from the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology deny it, a participant in a related lawsuit alleged that the islands are sinking back into the sea.[2][3]

As of July 2012, a second island, the Lebanon Island was developed and was 'the only island that has so far been developed commercially, is used for private corporate events and public parties.' [4]


Islands in the archipelago range from 14,000 to 42,000 square metres (150,000 to 450,000 sq ft) in area.[1] Distances between islands average 100 metres (330 ft); they are constructed from 321 million cubic metres of sand and 31 million tons of rock.[1] The entire development is an area that covers 6 by 9 kilometres (3.7 by 5.6 mi) and is surrounded by an oval-shaped breakwater island. Roughly 232 km (144 mi) of shoreline was created.[1] The World's overall development costs were estimated at $14 billion USD in 2005.[1][5]


The project was unveiled in May 2003 by Sheikh Mohammed[5] and dredging began four months later in September 2003.[5] By January 2008, 60% of the islands were sold, 20 of which were bought in the first four months of 2007.[1][5] On 10 January 2008 the final stone on the breakwater was laid, completing development of the archipelago.[5]

Project difficulties

The Times Online reports in September 2009 that work on The World had been suspended due to the effects of the global financial crisis.[6][7] And in February 2010 the Daily Mail reported that the Islands have started sinking back into the sea.[8] This was later denied by Nakheel and independent technical reports as wholly inaccurate.[9] Despite the denial, The Daily Telegraph reported in January 2011 that an independent company, Penguin Marine, provided verification on the erosion of the islands and the silting of the passage ways between the islands.[10] Due to finance and technical problems Penguin Marine, the company contracted to provide transportation to the archipelago, is attempting to get out of the annual fees of $1.6 million paid to Nakheel properties.[10]

As of early 2011, only one of the islands is occupied by a building (a show home) on it,[2] and commercial or residential properties are not currently being constructed on any of the other islands. Property prices in the Emirates have fallen 58 percent from their peak in the fourth quarter of 2008.[11]

Purchase and development plans

The World was serviced by four major transportation hubs linked by waterways. Land parcels are zoned for various uses: estate, mid density, high density, resorts and commercial.[12] A Dubai Infinity Holdings construction planner has stated that developers have been negotiating with Nakheel about temporary siting of a cement batching plant on one of the islands to supply subdivided construction.[13]

Utilities are routed underwater, with water plants at each of the hubs pumping fresh water to the islands. Power is supplied by the Dubai Grid and distributed through underwater cables. Waste water and refuse systems are an individual concern for each island.[12]

Nakheel Group is itself further developing a resort named Coral Island over 20 islands that make up the North American part of The World. The low-rise development will include a marina and hotel village.[14] The second largest confirmed development is the purchase of 14 islands that make up Australia and New Zealand by Investment Dar of Kuwait. The islands are being terraformed to be developed as a resort named OQYANA.[15] Irish business consortium Larionovo had plans to develop the Ireland island into an Irish-themed resort.[16] The plans include a large internal marina, apartments and villas, a gym, hotel, and an Irish-themed pub. In July 2007 it was announced that the Ireland Island would feature a recreation of Northern Ireland's Giants Causeway. However on 25 November 2008 a provisional liquidator was appointed to Larionovo.[17]

In April 2008, Salya Corporation announced that it had acquired the islands of Finland and Brunei in The World and planned to develop them into fashion-themed resorts. Salya spent about Dh800 million ($218 million USD) to purchase the islands and plans to spend a further Dh2.4 billion ($654 million USD) on development. Brunei Island will be turned into a Fashion TV resort and Finland Island will be turned into a fashion community called FTV palace.[18]

The islands of Great Britain and Moscow on The World were acquired by Premier Real Estate Bureau in the Summer of 2008. The news was leaked in a Daily Mail article of January 2009, refuting claims that Great Britain was owned by Irish investor John O'Dolan, Richard Branson or Rod Stewart.[19] Safi Qurashi, the one-time multi-millionaire entrepreneur [20] at the head of Premier and his business partner Mustafa Nagri, paid an estimated $64 million USD for the 11-acre (45,000 m2) piece of land; he was later convicted for non-payment of cheques and sentenced to seven years in jail.[21] The Irish businessman John O'Dolan, who purchased the "Ireland" island, committed suicide in February 2009, after his consortium fell into financial difficulty.[22]

Timeline of construction

  • May 2003: The World development announced by Nakheel, total completion scheduled for 2008. Initially to have 200 islands and an area of 60,000,000 square feet (5,600,000 m2).[23]
  • February 2004: It was announced that The World will comprises 260 islands, and its area will be 6 km by 9 km, area of 250 - 900,000 square feet (84,000 m2) for each island, with 50–100 meters of water between each island.[23]
  • August 2004: It was announced that land reclamation will cost at AED 7.3 billion ($2 billion).[23]
  • April 2005: Sand dredging 55 percent completed, 88 islands have been completed.[23]
  • 30 March 2006: Richard Branson appeared at a media conference on the Great Britain island. However, this was to announce direct London-to-Dubai flights by Virgin Atlantic, and was not related to his investing in the project.[24]
  • October 2006: Seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher was presented with one of the islands by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on the occasion of his final Grand Prix, in Brazil. Schumacher's manager Willi Weber, suggested, "Perhaps he'll build a kart racing track on [the island].[23]
  • December 2006: The World reclamation 90 percent completed.[23]
  • October 2007: Nakheel announced the sale of Ireland, and Shanghai in October 2007.[23]
  • 15 November 2007: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were reported to have purchased the island Ethiopia. This has since been denied by the couple.[23]
  • January 2008: The World breakwater is completed.[23]
  • 19 February 2008: Cinnovation Group has acquired a 37,000 square metres (400,000 sq ft) island as part of a project valued at $200 million USD. Guest and residential villas and a hospitality complex are planned.[25]
  • 25 February 2008: Dubai Multi Commodities Centre will establish a 6,000 square metres (65,000 sq ft) pearling and marine entertainment center in association with Paspaley Pearling Corporation. It will be located on an island in the Antarctic region of The World.[26]
  • 28 December 2008: Turkey island was bought by Turkey's MNG Holdings in June 2008 for $19 million USD.[27]
  • 28 December 2008: China's Zhongzhou International will be developing a hotel resort on Shanghai island.[27]
  • 28 December 2008: Nakheel says 70 percent of The World has been sold.[23]
  • September 2008:Dubai's Limitless announced plans in September 2008 to develop a $161 million USD wellness resort on an island in "Siberia". Pearl Dubai paid $27.2 million USD for a 1,600,000-square-foot (150,000 m2) island nearby.[27]
  • October 2009: An Emirates Business report on 13 October 2009 that 2 islands were sold in July and August 2009.[23]
  • December 2009: Dubai based Kleindienst Group say they will start construction of the Heart of Europe in early 2010 according to a press report of 17 December 2009. Islands include Austria, Germany, Netherlands, St Petersburg, Sweden and Switzerland.[23]
  • January 2010: On 28 January 2010 Emirates Business reported that Major Trade have started development of their projects on an island in the Greenland area, a villa and hotel resort.[23]
  • 23 February 2010: Dubai-based Kleindienst Group starts work on the Germany island of The World, according to a press release on 24 February 2010.[28]
  • 17 July 2012: The Royal Island Beach Club opened on Lebanon Island.

See also


External links

  • Dubai World Islands
  • Independent marine biologist, Professor Valencic's views on The World

Coordinates: 25°13′00″N 55°10′00″E / 25.21667°N 55.16667°E / 25.21667; 55.16667

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