A famed restaurant that had stayed afloat in one of Hong Kong’s harbors for 46 years has capsized, the establishment’s parent company announced on Tuesday.
The Jumbo Floating Restaurant “capsized in the South China Sea on Sunday,” Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said in a statement.
Caught in “stormy waters,” the incident occurred after the iconic vessel was towed away from Aberdeen Harbor last week on Tuesday for “maintenance” though the vessel’s destination was not publicly known, Hong Kong’s official RTHK News reported.
“No crew members were injured in the accident,” the statement added.
“The vessel encountered stormy seas in waters near the Xisha (Paracel) Islands on Saturday afternoon, causing it to partially sink. Despite the efforts of the towing company responsible for the trip, it capsized a day later,” Enterprises said, expressing “sadness” over the incident.
The floating restaurant was a popular tourist attraction in the semi-autonomous city before it suspended operations in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, it has been taking losses for many years due to its immense maintenance costs.
Since 1967, the restaurant reports to have hosted over 30 million visitors, including Queen Elizabeth II and US actor Tom Cruise.
The floating restaurant was “donated” to the nearby Ocean Park, but Hong Kong theme park, later said it could not find a third-party operator to run the restaurant.
Chien-Yu Shih, a Taiwanese academic who until recently lived in Hong Kong, said people have “deepest memories” with Jumbo Seafood Boat Restaurant.
“It seems to herald the end of an era,” Shih told Anadolu Agency from Taipei.
He moved to the self-ruled island after mass anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong in 2019.
Shih said a “conspiracy” around the vessel drowning cannot be ruled out.
“Since there is no one formally claiming on taking over the Jumbo, Hong Kong friends gossip on the accident as a conspired arrangement,” he alleged.
“The sinking of the Jumbo Seafood Boat symbolizes that the old glory of Hong Kong no longer exists, and is now buried in the sea forever,” said Shih, an associate research fellow at the Taiwanese think tank Institute for National Defense and Security Studies.
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