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Dubai-based developer Nakheel on Wednesday strenuously denied reports in the international media that its landmark Palm Jumeirah island was sinking into the Arabian Gulf.

European ground survey firm Fugro NPA Ltd had said that the island is sinking by an average of 5 millimetres a year, and may flood in the future if ocean levels rise.

However Shaun Lenehan, Head of Environment at Nakheel, said that the reports were "wholly inaccurate.""The integrity of all buildings, utilities and infrastructure on Palm Jumeirah are testament to the fact that there has been no subsidence," Lenehan told Arabian Business. "Any settlement of the ground, even as little as 5mm, would generate obvious physical manifestations including masonry cracking, leaking pipes, broken windows and so forth."Claims suggesting Palm Jumeirah has sunk by 5mm, as detected by remote sensing (satellite) techniques, are not possible given that NASA's laser altimeter satellites have an accuracy of only + or – 50 mm," he added.

Work on the Palm Jumeirah began in 2001, and the man-made island cost an estimated $12 billion to build. Homeowners on the development, which extends 5 kilometres into the Gulf, include footballers David Beckham and Michael Owen.

Jebel Ali Palm IslandThe Palm Jumeirah is also home to the Atlantis Hotel, a sprawling $1.5 billion resort which boasts an underwater aquarium, waterpark, and 1539 rooms including a $26,000-a-night suite. The hotel, built by hospitality mogul Sol Kerzner, opened in November 2008 with a lavish party attended by a host of Hollywood stars including Robert De Niro and Charlize Theron.


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