Hong Kong’s floating jumbo restaurant sinks into the South China Sea

(Bloomberg) — The floating jumbo restaurant, a Hong Kong landmark, has sunk in the South China Sea after it was towed away from the city to an unknown destination.

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Owner Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises Ltd. said in a statement that the Imperial Palace-shaped ship capsized on Sunday after it plunged into adverse conditions near the Paracel Islands. It added that the rescue would be “extremely difficult” given the water’s depth of 1,000 metres, adding that no crew members were hurt.

For more than four decades, the Chinese restaurant has been a common sight in Aberdeen Harbour, on the southern side of Hong Kong Island. Stanley is a casino mogul opened in Macau in 1976, attracting visitors including Queen Elizabeth II and Tom Cruise, according to the restaurant’s website. She has also appeared in films including Contagion starring Nicole Kidman. But its appeal has waned in recent years, and the pandemic has forced it to suspend operations.

The company said in an earlier statement that its owner, a unit of Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd. He earlier tried to donate the restaurant to an amusement park, but the plan was unsuccessful.

The restaurant’s owner said last month, the accumulated losses amounted to 100 million Hong Kong dollars ($ 12.7 million) since 2013. According to the statement, the millions of Hong Kong dollars that it was spending on repairing and maintaining the restaurant annually has become “a heavy burden on the company and its shareholders.”

The company planned to move the restaurant out of town for maintenance and storage while looking for new owners and a cheaper berth.

The statement added that the Aberdeen restaurant was “deeply saddened by this incident.” “The company is now getting more details about the accident from the towing company.”

The tragic fate of such a well-known attraction, even one that was losing money, affects the pessimistic mood of the city. Expats and locals alike are leaving in droves as seemingly endless travel restrictions and Beijing’s tight grip undermine Hong Kong’s future as an international financial center. The lack of visitors has affected businesses that depend on tourism spending, and another icon – the Star Ferry – has also warned of financial problems.

(Updates on the restaurant’s history from the third paragraph.)

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