It has been an icon and landmark in Hong Kong for 40 years. He has served his traditional Cantonese food to more than three million diners around the world. At its peak, it attracted celebrities from around the world, including England’s Queen Elizabeth II and movie stars like Tom Cruise and Chow Yun-fat. He also appeared in movies like James Bond: The Man With The Golden Gun, The protector, of Jackie Chan or Contagion, by Steven Soderbergh.
Now, the legendary Hong Kong floating restaurant Jumbo lies in the depths. She has sunk a few hours ago.
How the accident happened is what all the residents wonder. According to the company that managed it, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises Ltd, the restaurant was passing through the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea when it fully encountered “adverse” conditions. Apparently, the water began to enter the boat and ended up tipping to one side. They have also reported that no crew member or worker has been injured. “Since the depth of the water in the place was more than 1,000 meters, it is very difficult to carry out rescue work,” they explained. Come on, they’re not even going to bother to get it back.
The incident occurred just a week after it had been towed out of town. In fact, the ship, which cost 30 million euros when it was built in 1970, was headed somewhere in Southeast Asia, but the company has not wanted to reveal where. Now we will see why.
What was once the largest floating restaurant in the world reached 80 meters It also included a larger and smaller sister restaurant ship, a shellfish tank barge, a kitchen ship, and eight small ferries to transport visitors from nearby docks. The Jumbo Kingdom, they called the group.
It was not only famous for being a floating ship or for its exquisite cuisine, but also for its impressive decoration. It sported a lavish imperial-style façade, hundreds of lights, huge paintings, and colorful Chinese murals. In her glorious days, appeared in movies What Dragon operation (starring Bruce Lee), Spiderman 3: Dragon Challenge (the telefilm) or the Stephen Chow comedy The God of Cookery. All the celebrities who passed through the city came to the restaurant, such as the late Prince Philip of England, Jimmy Carter or Elizabeth Taylor.
Became a financial drag
Since 2013 it had already been suffering a notable drop, but as the fishing population in the southern port of the island left, the group of restaurants became less in demand. In 2020, the Covid pandemic gave it the finishing touch and it closed until further notice, laying off all his staff. The company said the restaurant became a financial burden for its shareholders, with millions of euros spent on inspection and maintenance when it was not even in operation.
The restaurant has remained closed ever since and the company continued to communicate substantial accumulated losses. Almost more than 100 million euros after the epidemic devastated tourism in the region, which was already in the doldrums since the social unrest of 2019.
Such was the dire economic situation that the company announced last month that it would move the ship away from Hong Kong waters because it could not afford the cost of maintaining the ship to meet government requirements. Although it was tried to get the government to help finance that cost – especially since she is also an icon of the Southern District of the country – the executive director rejected the plan, according to what is commented in this article by the South China Morning Post.
The restaurant was towed last week to a cheaper location where maintenance work could be done. In fact, the company explained that before leaving, had been thoroughly inspected by engineers and all relevant approvals were obtained. However, several conspiracy theories have quickly emerged: some say that the restaurant could not have been towed that far in a week. Others doubt whether the weather in the Xisha area had been that bad. And some comment that the situation was so bad that it was best to get rid of him. Goodbye, Jumbo.