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Worlds of Discovery theme park in Dubai delayed as Nakheel scales back further

It is a bitter blow for the developer which has already delayed a number of flagship projects including the Nakheel Harbour & Tower project and the Trump International Hotel & Tower.

Having to scale back further is a sign that even the major developers in Dubai are struggling in the present economic climate. Dredging work has also been put on hold on Nakheel's third palm development, Palm Deira.

Nakheel entered into a partnership with Busch Entertainment Corporation, operator of sea world adventure parks in Florida, US, last year and the first phase of the theme park, comprising Sea world and Aquatic, was due to open in December 2012.

The second phase of the 380 acre development, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove, was to have been completed in 2015.

The planned development would see the construction of an island in the shape of a killer whale at the top of Palm Jebel Ali has been delayed for at least a year. A new completion date has not yet been announced.

'While design work and site preparation on the crown of Palm Jebel Ali has been delayed for 12 months, BEC and Nakheel remain committed to the Worlds of Discovery Dubai partnership and will announce a new completion target date in due time,' Nakheel said in a statement.

Fred Jacobs, the vice president of communications at BEC said it was difficult to predict if and when the project would be completed because of instability in global markets. 'It is still too early to tell what will happen with this project. All I can say is that we are still studying the situation and we will be able to get a clearer picture in about a year's time,' he confirmed.

BEC, which is based in Orlando, Florida, is the family entertainment division of Anheuser-Busch Companies, which operates 10 Worlds of Discovery parks across the US. Beck's deal with Nakheel marks its first international presence.

Busch Gardens will predominantly have African animals, while Sea world and Discovery Cove will house dolphins and other marine life. The island was set to be linked to Palm Jebel Ali by a tunnel on the western side and a bridge on the eastern side. On completion, The Crown will have 3,000 to 4,000 rooms in various hotels.