One of Hong Kong’s most distinctive restaurants – the Jumbo Floating Restaurant – has capsized in the South China Sea, days after being towed away from its 46-year-old home in the territory’s Aberdeen port.
Its owners said in a statement on Monday that the restaurant encountered adverse weather conditions while passing the Paracel Islands – also known as the Xisha Islands – en route to an undisclosed location.
“The depth of the water at the scene is over 1,000 meters making it extremely difficult to carry out salvage work,” the statement from Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said, adding that no crew members were present. been injured and was seeking more information from the towing agency. She said she was “very saddened by this accident”.
Opened in 1976 by the late Stanley Ho Hung-sun, a casino magnate in Macau, Jumbo Restaurant has become a popular tourist attraction in the former British colony over the past four decades.
Known for its elegant traditional Chinese decorations and signature seafood dishes, the nearly 80-meter-long restaurant has been featured in films many times over the years, such as Jackie Chan’s 1985 film The Protector, and the highly acclaimed Infernal Affairs II in 2003. His distinguished guests also included Queen Elizabeth II and Hollywood actor Tom Cruise.
The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a huge financial blow to the restaurant. It closed in 2020 due to the pandemic and laid off all of its staff. Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said the restaurant had become a financial burden on its shareholders, with millions of Hong Kong dollars spent on its inspection and maintenance even though it was not in operation.
He said that since the early days of the pandemic in 2020, Jumbo had suffered a net loss of HK$100m (£10m). A lack of maintenance also caused the sinking of a 30-metre kitchen barge linked to the restaurant earlier this month.
The restaurant was towed last Tuesday to an undisclosed location. Prior to the ship’s departure, the company said it had been inspected by marine engineers and that hoardings had been installed and all relevant approvals had been obtained.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press
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