The ‘globe’ effect is most impressive when spotted by satellite, but visitors to Dubai who scale the Burg Khalifa – the tallest building in the world – can also see the awe-inducing sight.
Fans who want to catch a glimpse will have to hurry, though, as they are apparently going under the sea.
According to Richard Wilmot-Smith QC, for Penguin Marine, the islands are ‘gradually falling back into the sea’, due to ‘erosion and deterioration’.
Wilmot-Smith QC and Penguin Marine are leading a case against real estate developers Nakheel, part of Dubai World, a conglomerate owned by the state.
Though the islands were designed for millionaires who would only be able to access the islands by motor boats or yachts, all but one are still vacant – a fact attributed to the recent financial crisis, even though most of the 300 islands have been sold.
Dubai World and Nakheel had to be bailed out of billions of dollars worth of debts, with figures as high as $25billion quoted.
Despite the grave outlook, the designers are hoping that the project will eventually reach its intended conclusion.
Graham Lovett, for Nakheel, said: ‘This is a ten-year project which has slowed down. This is a project which will be completed.’
Amid the finding from researchers, a spokesperson from the estate developers hit back, claiming that they weren’t sinking into the sea.
‘Our periodical survey over the past three years didn’t observe any substantial erosion that required sand nourishment,’ they said in a statement.