Melco International Development’s iconic Jumbo floating restaurant has capsized and sunk while being towed out to sea.
A month after Melco revealed the restaurant – which closed in March 2020 – had accumulated losses in excess of HK$100 million (US$12.7 million) since 2013, Jumbo met an undignified end after reportedly hitting turbulent waters near the South China Sea’s Paracel Islands on Saturday.
The long-time Hong Kong icon had failed to find new investors due to its high maintenance costs while former Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam had also ruled out government intervention despite the restaurant’s historic significance.
Opened by Stanley Ho in 1976, Jumbo had in its prime been considered the height of luxury – used as the backdrop for countless movie scenes and welcoming famous guests from around the world including Queen Elizabeth II and former US President Jimmy Carter, and film stars Tom Cruise, Chow Yun Fat and Gong Li.
The ship was on its way to an “undisclosed location” ahead of its operating license expiring later this month when it sunk.
In a statement, Jumbo’s operating entity Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said it was “very saddened by the incident” although no crew members had been injured.
It is unknown whether the restaurant can be saved, with Aberdeen adding, “The water depth at the scene is over 1,000 meters, making it extremely difficult to carry out salvage works.”
Measuring 80 meters in length, Jumbo was the main attraction of Jumbo Kingdom, which also housed the smaller Tai Pak floating restaurant and other attractions.