HomeTravelHong Kong's Jumbo floating restaurant sinks at sea

Hong Kong’s Jumbo floating restaurant sinks at sea

(CNN) — An iconic Hong Kong floating restaurant has sunk, simply days after it was towed out to sea en path to an unspecified vacation spot.

Jumbo Kingdom, a three-story vessel, the outside of which was styled after a Chinese imperial palace, was towed away by tugboats final Tuesday after almost half a century moored within the metropolis’s southwest waters.

The restaurant’s principal boat was touring to an undisclosed shipyard when it capsized on Saturday after assembly “adverse conditions” close to the Paracel Islands (often known as the Xisha Islands) within the South China Sea, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises Limited stated in an announcement Monday.

The Jumbo Kingdom in Hong Kong, pictured in 2014.

Bruce Yan/South China Morning Post/Getty Images

The boat sank greater than 1,000 meters (3,280 toes), making salvage work “extremely difficult,” the assertion stated.

It added that Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises was “very saddened by this accident,” and was working to collect extra particulars from the towing firm. No crew members have been injured.

On Tuesday, the Hong Kong authorities requested the homeowners for a report on how the vessel got here to capsize, public broadcaster RTHK reported, amid requires a extra thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to the sinking.

The information of the sinking was met with consternation on-line, with many Hong Kong social media customers bemoaning the inelegant finish to certainly one of Hong Kong’s most acknowledged historic icons.

Some posted artwork depicting the restaurant underwater, whereas others shared farewell messages or fond reminiscences of visits previous.

Hong Kong political get together Third Side described the incident as baffling and accused the federal government and people concerned within the restaurant’s administration of not directly inflicting the capsizing of “Hong Kong people’s collective memory,” RTHK reported.

Others noticed the sinking ship as a darkly comedian metaphor for Hong Kong’s alleged fortunes, as town — nonetheless largely shut off from the remainder of the world — clings on to pandemic restrictions following a number of years of political turmoil.

The 260-foot lengthy (about 80 meters) restaurant was the principle boat of Jumbo Kingdom, a greater than 2,000 individual capability eatery which included an older and smaller sister restaurant boat, a barge for seafood tanks, a kitchen boat, and eight small ferries to move guests from close by piers.

Jumbo Kingdom, which at one time was the world’s largest floating restaurant, starred in lots of Hong Kong and worldwide films, together with “Enter the Dragon” starring Bruce Lee, and “James Bond: The Man with the Golden Gun.”

It additionally hosted visiting luminaries together with Queen Elizabeth II, Jimmy Carter and Tom Cruise.

The restaurant, which was solely accessible by way of small Jumbo-branded ferries, was well-known for its lavish Imperial-style façade, plentiful neon lights, huge specifically commissioned work within the stairwell and its colourful Chinese-style motifs — together with a golden throne within the eating corridor.

“A restaurant on this scale on a floating structure is quite unique in the world,” stated Charles Lai, an architect and founding father of Hong Kong Architectural History throughout an interview with CNN earlier this month.

“If we look at the historical context, it was built at a time when this imperial-style Chinese aesthetic wasn’t even encouraged in China (“Old Things” were to be removed during the Cultural Revolution). So Jumbo Kingdom reflected how Chinese in Hong Kong then had a greater yearning or passion for these old Chinese traditions,” stated Lai.

“It (also) reflects the close relation and history Hong Kong has with the sea.”

But because the fishing inhabitants within the island’s southern harbor dwindled, the restaurant group turned much less well-liked, and had been struggling a deficit since 2013.

The pandemic dealt the ultimate blow, with Jumbo’s homeowners asserting in March 2020 they’d accrued losses of greater than $13 million and the restaurant can be closed till additional discover.

Several proposals had been put ahead to save lots of the historic icon, however its excessive upkeep value had deterred potential traders, with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam additionally ruling out a possible authorities bailout to save lots of the attraction.

Without a “white knight” rescuer that town had been ready for, the proprietor’s determined to maneuver the Jumbo Floating Restaurant, the principle boat, to an undisclosed shipyard earlier than its working license expired at the tip of June.

Tai Pak, the smaller and older boat courting again to 1952, in addition to a not too long ago capsized kitchen boat, stay docked within the harbor.

Maggie Hiufu Wong contributed reporting.

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