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Bahamas court rejects effort to halt Malaysian company's dredging for Bimini resort

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NASSAU, Bahamas - A court in the Bahamas rejected an effort Monday to halt a dredging project off Bimini that is part of a major new resort development in the small cluster of islands near Florida.

In a 2-1 decision, the Court of Appeal declined a petition by the Bimini Blue Coalition to stop a project that it claims lacks the proper permits and is damaging sensitive underwater habitat.

Resorts World Bimini, a unit of Malaysia-based Genting Group, is dredging off North Bimini to build a terminal for its Miami-based cruise ship as part of a larger development that includes a 350-room hotel scheduled to open later this year.

The cruise ship terminal is scheduled to be completed in July. A company spokeswoman, Heather Krasnow, said Resorts World has the required permits and is attempting to minimize environmental damage by, among other things, relocating coral from the dredging area to an artificial reef nearby.

Critics have said the project will overwhelm Bimini, a small group of islands about 50 miles east of Florida that has long been a rustic fishing and diving destination.

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