UPDATE ; DAY
The “Jumbo”, a famous floating restaurant in Hong Kong plagued by financial difficulties and which had left the island last week for an unknown destination, sank in the South China Sea, announced its owner.
The 76-meter floating behemoth capsized on Sunday near the Paracel Islands after it began to take on water in “unfavorable” weather conditions, according to a statement from Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based investment firm Melco. International Development.
No crew member was injured, the company said in a statement released on Monday, saying it was “very saddened by the incident”.
“The water depth at the site exceeded 1,000 meters, making it extremely difficult to undertake salvage operations,” the statement said.
The 'Jumbo', moored in the south of Hong Kong Island for nearly half a century, had been inspected before setting sail, receiving 'all necessary clearances' before its departure last Tuesday, the company adds .
The operators of this once lavish restaurant cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for its permanent closure in March 2020, after nearly a decade of financial difficulties.
Opened in 1976 by Stanley Ho, the king of Macau's casinos who died in 2020, the Jumbo represented the height of luxury.
Designed like a Chinese imperial palace and once considered a must-see, the restaurant has attracted illustrious visitors, from Queen Elizabeth II to Tom Cruise.
He has featured in several films, including the thriller film 'Contagion' by Steven Soderbergh on a virus that kills some 26 million people worldwide.
Moored in Aberdeen Harbour, it was a favorite spot for seafood restaurants. Its popularity with tourists , in particular, had fallen in recent years, even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
In announcing in May the departure of the “Jumbo” from Hong Kong for an unspecified destination, Melco International Development had indicated that the restaurant had not been profitable since 2013, with cumulative losses exceeding HK$100 million (12 .7 million dollars).
Its maintenance costs amounted to millions of dollars each year.