The iconic Jumbo Kingdom, a gigantic floating restaurant in Hong Kong, capsized in the South China Sea, less than a week after it was towed away from the city, according to its parent company. Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said it was "very saddened by the incident." However, no crew members were injured in the incident.
Jumbo Kingdom, the three-story vessel was once the world's largest floating restaurant. However, the restaurant ran into a financial crisis and had to be closed down in 2020 following the Covid-19 outbreak. It was towed away by tugboats last Tuesday after remaining stationed for almost half a century in the city's southwest waters.
The restaurant's main boat was being towed to an undisclosed location from the main city when it capsized on Saturday. According to Aberdeen Restaurant the boat encountered "adverse conditions" while it was passing the Xisha Islands, also known as the Paracel Islands.
According to a statement from the company, water started entering the 260-feet long vessel and it gradually sank. The company said that it made the best efforts to save the restaurant but couldn't.
The boat sank more than 1,000 feet making it almost impossible to salvage it.
"The company is now getting further details of the accident from the towing company," the statement read. "Due to the impact of the current situation, Jumbo Kingdom will suspend its services," was posted on Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises Ltd. webpage Monday.
The 260-feet long (about 80 meters) restaurant was the main boat of Jumbo Kingdom. which included an older and smaller sister restaurant boat, a barge for seafood tanks, a kitchen boat, and eight small ferries to transport visitors from nearby piers. Besides, it also included an older and smaller sister restaurant boat, a barge for seafood tanks, a kitchen boat, and eight tiny ferries to ferry visitors from surrounding docks.
A video of the main Jumbo Restaurant being towed away from the city last week went viral. However, the incident comes less than a week after that.
End of an Era
Melco International Development, the company's operator, announced last month that it has not been profitable since 2013, with losses totaling more than 100 million Hong Kong dollars ($12.7 million).
It was still costing millions in annual maintenance fees, and about a dozen corporations and organizations had turned down Melco's offer to take it over for free. Jumbo stated last month that it would leave Hong Kong and wait for a new operator at an undisclosed location before its license expired in June.
It left the southern Hong Kong Island typhoon shelter, where it had been for over half a century, shortly before noon on Tuesday.
The Jumbo Kingdom was built at a cost of more than 30 million Hong Kong dollars ($3.8 million) in 1976 by late casino tycoon Stanley Ho, and symbolized the pinnacle of luxury in its heyday.
Over the years, it is estimated that more than 3 million people have dined on its Cantonese food, including the Queen, Tom Cruise, and Richard Branson. It had been featured in various films, including one starring James Bond, but the pandemic killed the business as diners turned away.