Owners of Hong Kong’s Jumbo Floating Restaurant have denied claims that the iconic craft sank in the South China Sea.
The establishment originally closed its doors in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with its owners reporting losses totaling more than 100 million Hong Kong dollars (approximately $12.75 million).
The restaurant owner initially released a statement on Monday that seemed to suggest that the craft had sank, stating that the towing of the restaurant encountered “adverse conditions” while being taken through the South China Sea.
Its owner, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises (ARE), clarified that reports of the boat sinking were “inaccurate.”
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On Friday, a spokesperson for the company emphasized to CNN how it had always used the term “capsize,” and not “sink,” to describe the incident, although they declined to clarify whether this meant the boat remained afloat. A company PR representative said on Friday in a separate announcement that the boat was still afloat, although rescue work would be “extremely difficult” due to the depth of the water being over 3,300 feet. The boat reportedly sank on Sunday as it was being towed away to a secret location, although Hong Kong’s Marine Department stated it was headed to a shipyard in Cambodia. Despite the ship’s go-ahead approvals after an inspection from marine engineers, water seeped its way into the vessel causing it to start tipping.
Debate on whether the ship sank or capsized is a twist in the saga of the landmark destination opened in 1976, which has served figures such as Tom Cruise, Gong Li and Queen Elizabeth II. The restaurant that held over three floors and accommodated 2,300 diners was towed away from Aberdeen Harbor on June 14.
Hong Kongers were worried for the restaurant after a kitchen barge sank on May 31. Despite its status as a historic institution, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor issued a statement in May that the local government had no intention to invest in the property, saying, “We have clearly indicated that the government has no plans to invest money in the operation of the restaurant as we are not good at running such premises, We won’t force through an unfeasible proposal or one that requires a large amount of public money for implementation simply because it has been raised in the policy address.”