London: Experts have warned that the luxury islands in Dubai shaped like countries of the world are sinking into the sea.
They told a tribunal that the man-made project off the coast of the oil-rich emirate is ``dead``.
The World archipelago was intended to have top hotels and villas for millionaires but work is believed to have stopped following the financial crisis, reports the Sun.
Now the sands are eroding and the navigational channels between each "nation" are silting up.
Richard Wilmot-Smith QC, a British lawyer for a company that ferries people to the islands, said, "They are gradually falling back into the sea."
Penguin Marine is seeking to withdraw from paying fees of one million pounds a year because there is so few passengers for the development a mile and a half from the mainland.
The firm claims work on the islands has "effectively stopped".
Meanwhile, Developer Nakheel claims 70 per cent of The World``s 300 islands have been sold.
But the only inhabited island is Greenland-which is a show home owned by Dubai``s ruler.
The firm was part of Dubai World, the state-owned conglomerate bailed out of 18 billion pounds debts at the end of 2009.
Investors who did buy islands also ran into problems after the Dubai property bubble burst.