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The owners of a floating restaurant in Hong Kong have assured the business hasn't sunk after a statement indicated it could not be salvaged.
The Jumbo Floating Restaurant was established in 1976 and over the years has welcomed customers including Queen Elizabeth II and Tom Cruise, as well as being used in films by Jackie Chan and Steven Soderbergh.
After being forced to close its doors following the coronavirus outbreak in 2020, customers and fans said goodbye to the Jumbo as it was towed out of Aberdeen harbour earlier this month.
Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises (ARE), which owns the restaurant, did not offer details on where it would be taken, but it was later revealed by Hong Kong’s marine department that it was set to move to a shipyard in Cambodia.
This is where things get a bit confusing. On Monday (20 June), ARE said the vessel encountered adverse weather conditions when passing the Paracel Islands, where water depth was 'over 1,000 metres'.
"Water soon entered before it began to tip," the company said, adding the depth made it 'extremely difficult to carry out salvage works' – a comment most people took to refer to the restaurant, indicating it had sunk and could not be salvaged.
Hong Kong icon sinks in South China Sea.— AFP News Agency (@AFP) June 21, 2022
The Jumbo floating restaurant, a once famed Hong Kong tourist attraction, sank after being towed away from the city.
Some online commentators described the sinking as a metaphor for Hong Kong's futurehttps://t.co/OSFodbCGnN pic.twitter.com/ehYcDA44tG
A few days later, ARE said both the restaurant and the accompanying tugboat were still in waters near the islands, and that reports the boat had sunk were 'inaccurate'.
It's good news for those who were sad to hear the restaurant might have gone to a watery grave, but we're not out of the woods – or the water – just yet.
On Friday (24 June), ARE’s PR representatives said that while the restaurant was afloat, it did need rescuing from the deep water. In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson for ARE said it had always used the term 'capsize' when discussing the incident and had never claimed the vessel had sunk.
Clarification on the status of the boat came after Hong Kong’s Marine Department issued a statement revealing it had only learned of the incident from media reports. Officials cited by The Guardian explained ARE may have breached the city’s regulations if the sinking was not reported within 24 hours, so it immediately requested a report from the company.
Failure to offer a reasonable explanation for the situation on time could result in a fine of HK$10,000 (£1,040).
Jumbo Kingdom measured 260-foot (80 meters) long and covered three storeys that were styled after a Chinese imperial palace.
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