HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant has capsized in the South China Sea less than a week after it was towed away from the city, its parent company said Monday.
The restaurant encountered “adverse conditions” on Saturday as it was passing the Xisha Islands, also known as the Paracel Islands, in the South China Sea, and water entered the vessel and it began to tip, according to Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises Ltd.
The company said no one was injured, but that efforts to save the vessel failed and it capsized on Sunday.
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Because the accident happened in waters more than 3,000 feet deep, it will be “extremely difficult to carry out salvage works,” the company said in a statement.
It said the company “is very saddened by this accident.”
The Jumbo Floating Restaurant, almost 260 feet in length, had been a landmark in Hong Kong for over four decades, serving Cantonese cuisine to over 3 million guests including Queen Elizabeth II and Tom Cruise.
It closed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and laid off all its staff. Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said the restaurant became a financial burden to its shareholders, with millions of Hong Kong dollars spent on its inspection and maintenance even though it was not in operation.
The restaurant was towed away last Tuesday. The company said it planned to move it to a lower-cost site where maintenance could be carried out.
It said that before its departure, the vessel had been thoroughly inspected by marine engineers and hoardings were installed, and all relevant approvals were obtained.
“The company is now getting further details of the accident from the towing company,” the statement said.