Hong Kong’s famous floating restaurant is sinking in the sea

The Jumbo, a famous Hong Kong floating restaurant plagued by financial difficulties and which left the island for an unknown destination last week, has sunk in the South China Sea, its owner said.

The 76-meter-long floating giant capsized near the Paracel Islands on Sunday after beginning to take water in “unfavorable” weather conditions, according to a statement from Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based investment firm Melco International Development.

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No crew member was injured, the company said in a statement released Monday, saying it was “very saddened by the incident”.

“The water depth at the site exceeded 1,000 meters, making it extremely difficult to carry out salvage operations,” the statement said.

The Jumbo, which has been docked in southern Hong Kong Island for nearly half a century, was inspected prior to departure and received “all necessary permits” before sailing last Tuesday, the company added.

The operators of this once lavish restaurant cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for its permanent closure in March 2020, after nearly a decade of financial difficulties.

Opened in 1976 by Stanley Ho, the late king of Macau’s casinos, the Jumbo represented the pinnacle of luxury.

The restaurant, which is designed like a Chinese imperial palace and was once a must-see, has attracted illustrious visitors from Queen Elizabeth II to Tom Cruise.

He has appeared in several films, including Steven Soderbergh’s thriller Contagion, about a virus that kills around 26 million people worldwide.

Docked in Aberdeen Harbour, it was a hotspot for seafood restaurants that had waned in popularity, particularly among tourists, in recent years, even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

When Melco International Development announced the departure of the “Jumbo” from Hong Kong to an unspecified destination in May, Melco International Development had pointed out that the restaurant had not been profitable since 2013, with cumulative losses of more than HK$100 million ($12.7 million). ).

Maintenance costs ran into millions of dollars each year.

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