Hong Kongs famous Jumbo Floating Restaurant sinks while being towed to new location

Jun 21, 2022

Jumbo floating restaurant, Hong Kong’s famous tourist attraction which was long facing financial woes, sank in the South China Sea while being towed away from its home of 46 years in the territory’s Aberdeen harbour. The restaurant’s parent company, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises, said in a statement, that it capsized near the Paracel Islands after it “encountered adverse conditions” and water began getting inside. The company also informed that no one was injured as the efforts to save the vessel remained unsuccessful.

"As the water depth at the scene is over 1,000 meters, (it makes it) extremely difficult to carry out salvage works," the company said in a statement, adding that it “is very saddened by this accident”. Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said that marine engineers were hired to inspect the floating restaurant and install hoardings in the vessel before it was towed away from the city. It also said that “all relevant approvals” had been obtained. However, Hong Kongers lamented the "end of an icon" or "end of an era".

#HongKong's iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant capsized in the South China Sea on Monday night as it encountered adverse weather conditions in the Xisha Islands. Opened in 1976, Jumbo has become a popular tourist attraction for decades.

— China Perspective (@China_Fact) June 21, 2022

Jumbo Floating Restaurant, almost 80 metres (around 260 feet) in length, was a landmark in Hong Kong for more than four decades. It has served Cantonese cuisine to more than three million guests including UK’s Queen Elizabeth II and Hollywood actor Tom Cruise. Even though the renowned eatery shut down in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and laid off all its staff, it had been facing financial woes for almost a decade. 

Just last month, operator Melco International Development had reportedly said that the business had not been profitable since 2013. Moreover, the cumulative losses had exceeded 100 million Hong Kong dollars. Without driving any profits for the stakeholders, the restaurant was still costing millions in maintenance fees every year and about a dozen businesses and organisations had declined an invitation to take it over,  Melco had said.

Jumbo was being transferred to an undisclosed location

Last month, before the license of the restaurant expired, Melco said that Jumbo would leave Hong Kong, and await a new operator at an undisclosed location. The restaurant was set off shortly before noon last Tuesday from the southern Hong Kong Island typhoon shelter where it had sat for nearly half a century. 

Jumbo floating restaurant was opened in 1976 by the late casino tycoon Stanley Ho and it was the embodiment of luxury in its most glorious days. As per media reports, it cost over 30 million  Hong Kong dollars or $3.8 million to build. The floating eatery is designed like a Chinese imperial palace and was known to attract tourists from across the globe. 

Image: Facebook  

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