The iconic tourist hotspot has been visited by famous faces over the years including The Queen, Pele and Tom Cruise
Hong Kong’s Jumbo floating restaurant has sunk in the South China Sea just days after it was towed out of the city.
The iconic restaurant has been serving Cantonese cuisine for almost half a century, with famous faces such as the Queen, Pele and Tom Cruise traveling there over the years.
But the restaurant was closed for two years prior to his fateful final trip.
So what led to the closure of the floating jumbo restaurant – and how did it sink?
Here’s everything you need to know.
What was the jumbo restaurant?
The Jumbo Floating Restaurant has been one of Hong Kong’s most famous tourist attractions.
The restaurant was opened in 1976 by Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun and has lived most of his life in the city’s fishing village of Aberdeen.
It measured nearly 80 meters (260 feet) in length, was three stories high, and had 45,000 square feet of space, with enough capacity for 2,300 guests.
During its lifetime, Jumbo not only served more than 30 million people with food, but also served as a film set.
Jackie Chan’s 1985 film The Protector and the 2011 film Contagion both used it as a backdrop.
In Contagion, Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Patient Zero” character is infected by an unknown virus from a chef at Jumbo before spreading it to the rest of the world – a plot that prefigured the restaurant’s own downfall in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jumbo was already struggling financially in the run-up to the coronavirus.
The company had lost a total of HK$100 million (£10.4 million) since 2013, according to the Financial Times.
Covid-19 proved to be the final nail in the restaurant’s coffin and it closed on March 3, 2020, laying off all of its staff.
It has failed to reopen as China follows a zero-Covid policy, which has discouraged most tourists from visiting Hong Kong.
How did the floating restaurant Jumbo sink?
After attempts to sell the restaurant proved unsuccessful, Jumbo’s owners Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises opted to tow the landmark to an undisclosed, cheaper location where the vehicle could be serviced.
The company said it had become necessary to move it out of Hong Kong because it cost millions of Hong Kong dollars to keep it afloat even though it doesn’t host guests.
When the Jumbo’s berth license expired on Tuesday (June 14), she was towed from her sheltered berth in the fishing village of Aberdeen.
It had traveled around 500 kilometers and was passing the disputed Paracel or Xisha Islands in the South China Sea when it encountered “adverse conditions” described by Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises on Saturday (June 18).
Jumbo began tipping after entering water before capsizing and then sinking on Sunday (June 19).
The company said no one was injured, but efforts to save the ship have failed.
“Since the water depth at the crime scene is over 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), [it makes it] Salvage operations extremely difficult to carry out,” the company said in a statement.
She added that she was “very saddened by this accident”.
Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises also said the ship had been thoroughly inspected by marine engineers, hoarding had been installed and all relevant permits had been obtained prior to Jumbo’s departure from Hong Kong.
“The company is now receiving further details of the accident from the towing company,” the company said.
https://www.nationalworld.com/news/world/jumbo-floating-restaurant-hong-kong-sink-south-china-sea-3740322 Floating jumbo restaurant in Hong Kong ‘lost at sea’