x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

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Dubai's Drydocks World yesterday signed an agreement to build futuristic underwater hotels for a Swiss company.

A mock-up of the planned underwater hotels. Courtesy BIG InvestConsult
A mock-up of the planned underwater hotels. Courtesy BIG InvestConsult

Having struggled to keep its head above water financially, Drydocks World is now set to stay afloat by building new hotels - under water.

Dubai's Drydocks World yesterday signed an agreement to build futuristic underwater hotels for BIG InvestConsult, a Swiss company.

The structures are designed to be located off coastal areas, with disc-shaped buildings a few metres above water and a circular structure below water, renderings show.

Drydocks and Maritime World have been appointed "as the exclusive main contractor for construction of the new concept hotels and cities floating in the Middle East", it said.

The company, which is part of Dubai World, filed for insolvency protection last month at the Dubai World Tribunal to push through a US$2.2 billion (Dh8.08bn) debt restructuring deal.

Drydocks first sought a restructuring of its debt back in 2010. The shipbuilder is seeking to restructure two bank loans that were issued in 2008, where one valued at $1.7bn became due in October and the other valued at $500m is maturing next year.

A memorandum of understanding for the hotel project was signed yesterday with BIG InvestConsult at the Annual Investment Meeting in Dubai, Drydocks said.

"Our expertise lies in developing future strategies aimed at advancing the construction of technology-driven pioneering projects in the maritime sector," said Khamis Juma Buamim, the chairman of Drydocks World and Maritime World.

"Our technical capabilities and project management experience have been accumulated over nearly three decades of operations," he added. "It is indeed extremely satisfying that we are able to break new grounds in implementing highly advanced technology-intensive concepts that would enable us to carry forward our capabilities to the next level."

BIG InvestConsult is a representative of the Deep Ocean Technology, which is the Polish owner of the technology and concept behind Water Discus Hotel, and holds special exclusivity rights for facilities located in the GCC.

It is not clear, yet, how the projects are intended to be financed or where they are to be located.

"The Water Discus Hotel project opens many new fields of development for hotel and tourism sector, housing and city sector in the coastal off-shore areas," said Bogdan Gutkowski, the president of BIG Invest Group.

rbundhun@thenational.ae

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