The legendary floating jumbo restaurant capsized and sank Sunday while in transit. Days later, it was not yet clear whether weather or other factors contributed to the accident.
Hong Kong’s popular floating jumbo restaurant has capsized while being moved to a new location after being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
Hong Kong’s legendary Jumbo Floating restaurant is now located at the bottom of the South China Sea, just days after it was towed away from the city, parent company Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said Monday.
The 46-year-old teacher was due to be renovated in an unknown location in China after plans to restore it in Aberdeen, located in the southern region of Hong Kong, failed. The Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) reported that it was withdrawn from the city last Tuesday.
According to a statement from the parent company, the restaurant was passing through the Xisha Islands, also known as the Paracel Islands, in the South China Sea, when the waters entered the ship because it encountered “adverse conditions,” causing the boat to begin capsizing. , according to a report from HKFP. The company did not explain the reasons for the adverse conditions, but said efforts to rescue the ship failed and it sank after it capsized on Sunday. No one is hurt.
According to the Aberdeen restaurant establishments, the accident occurred as the water was more than 3,280 feet deep, a depth that would have made it “extremely difficult to carry out rescue work,” the New York Times reported.
Although there is no direct evidence to suggest a wrongdoing, speculation has arisen online that the boat may have sank for insurance purposes. The newspaper reported that Stephen Ng, a spokesman for Aberdeen Restors Enterprises, declined to comment on the speculation.
Temperatures in Hong Kong over the weekend were at their highest in the 80s, slightly above normal there at this time of year. There has also been slightly unstable weather across the region in recent days and weeks, said Tony Zartman, a meteorologist with AccuWeather. “There were clusters of thunderstorms all over that area over the weekend,” he added. It could be “one of those storm groups,” Zertmann said [could have] It produced stronger winds and briefly high seas” but could not provide any more specific weather information regarding where the boat was at when the accident occurred.
The Associated Press reports that the 260-foot-tall, three-story restaurant has been a Hong Kong landmark for more than four decades. According to its website, since its opening in the 1970s, the ship has served Cantonese cuisine to more than 30 million guests, nearly everyone from Tom Cruise and Queen Elizabeth II. Besides making cameos in other films, The Floating Restaurant was featured in the 1974 James Bond film The man with the golden gun.
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While Hong Kong was grappling with the first wave of COVID-19 infections in March of 2020, the restaurant stopped operating, closed its doors, and dismissed all of its staff.
After the closure, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises offered to donate the Jumbo Floating Restaurant to a local theme park at no cost because the company could not afford maintenance and inspection.
FILE – Hong Kong’s last imperial-style Chinese floating restaurant, which has appeared in many domestic and international films over the years, was seen in Hong Kong on June 13, 2022. The restaurant capsized in the South China Sea less than a week after it was towed away from the city, The parent company said Monday, June 20, 2022 (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)
HKFP reports that Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, has stepped in with a plan to “revitalize” the southern region. She said the government would cooperate with the theme park and other local non-profit organizations in “revitalizing the floating restaurant.” But Lamm’s plan quickly fizzled out when the theme park was unable to find a suitable third party to take over the operations.
Lam announced only last month that the government would not invest any taxpayer money in the ship, which has already accumulated nearly $13 million (HK$100 million) in losses in the past decade, HKFP reported.
The Associated Press reported that Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises planned to move the ship to a lower-cost location, where maintenance could be done. In order to avoid a disturbance at the new location, the company did not reveal exactly where the ship was headed.
A local news source, RTHK, reported two days after Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises announced it was moving the Jumbo Floating Restaurant, part of the kitchen barge that was floating off the restaurant.
Before leaving, all relevant approvals were obtained, the ship was thoroughly checked by naval engineers, and the panels were installed.
“The company is now getting more details about the accident from the towing company,” the Associated Press reported.
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