(CNN) — An iconic floating restaurant in Hong Kong has sunk, just days after being towed out to sea en route to an unspecified destination.
The restaurant’s main boat was heading to an undisclosed shipyard when it capsized on Saturday after encountering “adverse conditions” near the Paracel Islands (also known as the Xisha Islands) in the South China Sea, a report said. Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises Limited said in a statement on Monday.
The Jumbo Kingdom in Hong Kong, photographed in 2014.
Bruce Yan/South China Morning Post/Getty Images
The boat sank more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), making salvage work “extremely difficult”, the statement said.
He added that Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises was “very saddened by this accident” and was working to gather further details from the towing company. No crew member was injured.
The news was met with dismay online, with many Hong Kong social media users lamenting the inelegant end of one of Hong Kong’s most recognized historical icons. Some posted artwork depicting the restaurant underwater, while others shared farewell messages or fond memories of past visits.
Others have seen the sinking ship as a dark, comedic metaphor for Hong Kong’s supposed fortunes, as the city – still largely isolated from the rest of the world – clings to pandemic restrictions after years of political unrest. .
The 260-foot-long (about 80 meters) restaurant was the main boat for Jumbo Kingdom, a restaurant with a capacity of more than 2,000 people that included an older, smaller restaurant boat, a barge for the tanks of seafood, a kitchen boat and eight small ferries. to transport visitors from nearby docks.
The restaurant, which was only accessible by small Jumbo-branded ferries, was famous for its lavish imperial-style facade, numerous neon lights, huge commissioned paintings in the stairwell, and colorful Chinese-style designs, including a golden throne in the dining room. Hall.
But as the island’s southern port fishing population dwindled, the restaurant group became less popular and had suffered a deficit since 2013.
The pandemic dealt the final blow, with Jumbo’s owners announcing in March 2020 that they had racked up losses of more than $13 million and the restaurant would be closed until further notice.
Several proposals had been put forward to save the historic icon, but its high maintenance cost had deterred potential investors, with Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam also ruling out a possible government bailout to save the attraction.
Without a “white knight” lifeguard the city was waiting for, the owner decided to move the Jumbo Floating Restaurant, the main boat, to an undisclosed shipyard before its operating license expires at the end of June.
Tai Pak, the smaller and older boat dating from 1952, as well as a recently capsized kitchen boat, remain moored in the harbour.
Maggie Hiufu Wong contributed reporting.