Hong Kong’s floating restaurant sinks

Jumbo Floating Restaurant, a landmark of Hong Kong, sank in the South China Sea after being towed away from the city.

Hong Kong’s floating restaurant sinks
This file photo taken on June 2, 2022, shows the Jumbo Floating Restaurant located in the typhoon shelter near Aberdeen on the south side of Hong Kong. (Photo: AFP)

Jumbo Floating Restaurant, a landmark of Hong Kong, sank in the South China Sea after being towed away from the city.

The imperial palace-shaped vessel capsized on Sunday after taking on water near the Paracel Islands, its owner Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises Ltd said in a statement.

Salvage would be “extremely difficult” given the water depth of 1,000 metres, it said, adding no crew members were injured.

For more than four decades the Chinese restaurant was a familiar sight in Aberdeen harbour, on the south side of Hong Kong. Opened by Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho in 1976, it drew visitors including Queen Elizabeth II, and Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise, according to the restaurant’s website. It also featured in films including Contagion. But its attraction waned in recent years, and the pandemic forced it to suspend operations.

Its owner earlier tried to donate the restaurant to an amusement park but the plan fell through, the company said.

The restaurant had accumulated losses of HK$100 million (US$12.7 million) since 2013, its owner said last month. The millions of Hong Kong dollars it was spending to repair and maintain the restaurant annually had become “a heavy burden for the company and its shareholders,” according to the statement.

The company planned to move the restaurant out of the city for maintenance and storage while it looked for new owners.