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Mystery deepens over destiny of Hong Kong’s Jumbo Floating Restaurant, Latest World News

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HONG KONG (AFP) – Mystery over the destiny of Hong Kong’s Jumbo Floating Restaurant deepened on Friday (June 24) after its proprietor stirred confusion over whether or not the financially struggling vacationer attraction had actually sunk while being towed away from the city last week.

On Monday, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises launched an announcement saying the vessel had capsized on Sunday close to the Paracel Islands within the South China Sea after it “encountered adverse conditions” and commenced to tackle water.

“The water depth at the scene is over 1,000 metres, making it extremely difficult to carry out salvage works,” it added.

On Thursday night time, Hong Kong’s Marine Department put out an announcement saying it had solely learnt of the incident from media reviews, and had instantly requested a report from the corporate.

The division mentioned the report was delivered on Thursday, saying the restaurant had capsized however that “at present, both Jumbo and the tugboat are still in the waters off Xisha islands,” utilizing the Chinese identify for the Paracels.

Hours later, an AFP journalist was contacted by a spokesman representing the restaurant who mentioned the corporate had at all times used the phrase “capsized” not “sank”.

Asked immediately if the boat had sunk, he mentioned once more the assertion had mentioned “capsized”, and didn’t clarify why it had referred to the depth of the water when mentioning salvage.

The South China Morning Post reported an analogous dialog with a spokesman for the corporate, wherein they insisted the boat had “capsized”, not “sank”, however refused to make clear whether or not it was nonetheless afloat.

The newspaper mentioned it had been instructed by the Marine Department that the corporate may need breached native rules if it had not notified the authorities of a sinking incident inside 24 hours.

Widespread reporting in each native and worldwide media in the beginning of the week that Jumbo had sunk was not contradicted by the corporate.

AFP has requested a proper assertion from Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises on the standing of Jumbo, in addition to an in depth clarification of what occurred.

The firm beforehand mentioned marine engineers had been employed to examine the floating restaurant and set up hoardings on the vessel earlier than the journey, and that “all relevant approvals” had been obtained.

Financial woes

The vacationer attraction closed in March 2020, citing the Covid-19 pandemic as the ultimate straw after virtually a decade of economic woes.

Operator Melco International Development mentioned final month the enterprise had not been worthwhile since 2013 and cumulative losses had exceeded HK$100 million (S$17.7 million).

It was nonetheless costing hundreds of thousands in upkeep charges yearly and round a dozen companies and organisations had declined an invite to take it over at no cost, Melco added.

Tug boats tow away the Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Hong Kong, on June 14, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
 

The operator introduced final month that forward of its licence expiration in June, Jumbo would go away Hong Kong and await a brand new operator at an undisclosed location.

The restaurant set off shortly earlier than midday final Tuesday from the southern Hong Kong Island hurricane shelter the place it had sat for practically half a century.

Opened in 1976 by the late on line casino tycoon Stanley Ho, in its glory days the restaurant embodied the peak of luxurious, reportedly costing greater than HK$30 million to construct.

Designed like a Chinese imperial palace and as soon as thought of a must-see landmark, the restaurant drew guests from Queen Elizabeth II to Tom Cruise.

It additionally featured in a number of movies – together with Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, a few lethal world pandemic.


Mystery deepens over destiny of Hong Kong’s Jumbo Floating Restaurant, Latest World News.
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