Hong Kong’s famed Jumbo Floating Restaurant sinks while under tow off Paracel Islands

Photo: Nelson Dela Cruz (used with permission)

A floating restaurant that had operated in Hong Kong’s waters for over four decades capsized and sank as it was being towed by tugs in the South China Sea earlier this week.

The incident occurred as the 1976-built Jumbo Floating Restaurant was being transported to an undisclosed location following an announcement in late May 2022 by Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises that the restaurant would leave Hong Kong waters.

The restaurant, which can accommodate 2,300 guests, was towed out of Hong Kong on June 14. However, the structure suffered water ingress and listed heavily while under tow on Saturday, June 18.

The restaurant capsized and sank as it encountered bad weather near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on Sunday, June 19. It eventually settled at a depth of over 1,000 metres.

There were no injuries resulting from the capsizing, though the owners admitted that the salvage of the restaurant is unlikely due to its position on the seabed.

Established in 1976 by late Hong Kong billionaire Stanley Ho, the Jumbo Floating Restaurant became a popular tourist attraction, accommodating over 30 million guests during its 44 years in service, its owners claimed. The restaurant’s operations were suspended in March 2020 following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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