Hong Kong’s iconic floating restaurant sank in the South China Sea | DayDayNews

Famous tourist attraction capsized near Paracel Islands after encountering ‘adverse conditions’.

The once famous but economically troubled Hong Kong tourist destination Jumbo floating restaurant sank in the South China Sea after being dragged out of the city, its parent company said.

The Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprise announced in a statement on Monday that it capsized off the Paracel Islands on Sunday after it “encountered adverse conditions” and began flooding.

“The depth of the water at the site exceeded 1,000 meters and salvage work was extremely difficult,” it added.

The company said it was “deeply saddened by this incident” but no crew members were injured.

It said a marine engineer had been hired to inspect the floating dining room and installed hoardings on board before the voyage, and had obtained “all relevant approvals”.

The restaurant closed in March 2020, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the final straw after nearly a decade of financial distress.

Operator Melco International Development said last month that the business had not been profitable since 2013, with accumulated losses of more than HK$100 million ($12.7 million).

Melco added that it still costs millions of dollars a year in maintenance fees, and about a dozen businesses and organizations have turned down invitations to take over it for free.

It announced last month that Jumbo would leave Hong Kong to wait for a new operator at an undisclosed location before the license expires in June.

The restaurant departed shortly before noon last Tuesday from the typhoon shelter in southern Hong Kong Island, where it has been sitting for nearly half a century.

Opened in 1976 by the late casino tycoon Stanley Ho, it embodies the luxury of its glory days and reportedly cost more than HK$30 million ($3.8 million) to build.

Designed to resemble a Chinese imperial palace, the restaurant was once considered a must-see landmark, attracting tourists from Queen Elizabeth II to Tom Cruise.

It has also appeared in several films, including Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion,” about a deadly global pandemic.

The departure of Jumbo from Hong Kong has caused many Hong Kong citizens to regret and miss them.

Some online commentators have described the photo of the floating palace as a metaphor for Hong Kong’s future, sailing to the horizon in a sea of ​​charcoal grey.

The city has seen draconian pandemic restrictions put its status as an international hub in jeopardy, Beijing’s national security law Suppressing dissent and casting Hong Kong as an authoritarian image of China.

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