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June 21, 2022updated 11 Aug 2022 11:19am

Hong Kong’s Jumbo Floating Restaurant sinks at sea

After closing during the pandemic, the restaurant was towed from Hong Kong harbour only to be lost at sea.

By City Monitor Staff

One of Hong Kong‘s most iconic landmarks has sunk in the South China Sea a week after being removed from the harbour. Established in 1976, the famous, lavish-styled eatery, also known as Jumbo Kingdom, had closed during the pandemic and was unable to reopen after Hong Kong imposed lockdown measures and tourism stalled in returning to previous levels.

Hong Kong Floating Restaurant
The famous Jumbo Floating Restaurant is towed away by tugboats after 46 years as a much-loved tourist attraction in Aberdeen, Hong Kong. The largest floating restaurant in the world had been closed since 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic devastated the tourism and catering sectors. The attraction’s parent company, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises, announced that the vessel would be taken to a facility outside Hong Kong for storage and repairs. (Photo by Stefan Irvine/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said in a statement, “Jumbo Floating Restaurant departed Hong Kong last Tuesday (14 June) and until Saturday (18 June) afternoon, when passing Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, the vessel encountered adverse conditions [from] which water soon entered before it began to tip. 

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“Despite the efforts of the towing company responsible for the trip to rescue the vessel, unfortunately it capsized on Sunday (19 June). No crew members were injured in the incident. As the water depth at the scene is over 1,000m, [this makes it] extremely difficult to carry out salvage works.”

The company continued to say it “is very saddened by this accident”. And that it “is now getting further details of the accident from the towing company”.

According to the Jumbo’s website, the restaurant hosted well-known international dignitaries and celebrities, including Queen Elizabeth II, star of Top Gun: Maverick Tom Cruise, and Hong Kong cinema award-winner Chow Yun Fat. The Jumbo Kingdom itself had also appeared in films, such as Jackie Chan’s The Protector.

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There had been some hope previously that the government would offer financial support for it to remain open. However, chief executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam said at the time, “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,” she said.

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“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.”

It was not made clear where Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises intended to take the Jumbo before it sank.

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