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Hong Kong's Jumbo Floating Restaurant
Photograph: Courtesy AFP/Peter ParksAn aerial view of Hong Kong's Jumbo Floating Restaurant taken on June 14, 2022

Hong Kong's iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant capsizes in the South China Sea

New reports state that the legendary restaurant remains in the area of Xisha Islands

Tatum Ancheta
Written by
Tatum Ancheta

After leaving Aberdeen on June 14, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises, the restaurant's parent company, reported that the 46-year-old Jumbo Floating Restaurant capsized at sea on June 19 due to extreme weather conditions near Paracel Islands (also known as the Xisha Islands). The iconic vessel was supposed to be transferred to an undisclosed location – which was eventually reported to be in Cambodia – for storage. 

News of the iconic restaurant's fate shocked Hongkongers and netizens. Along with memes and Photoshopped images of the vessel, conspiracy theories about the restaurant's demise trended online.

jumbo floating
Photograph: Courtesy Yan Zhao/AFP

The Marine Department requested a report from the parent company as the incident hadn't been reported to them before the news was released in the media. Now the story about the floating restaurant has taken a dramatic twist. According to the submitted report, the vessel remains in the waters of the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, but no indication if the restaurant is afloat. The Marine Department said that the restaurant and Jaewon 9 – the operating tugboat company responsible for towing the vessel – remain in the area of Xisha Islands where the capsizing occurred. 

In the initial report from Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises, the company stated that no crew members were injured during the incident. Despite efforts to rescue the vessel, the ship is already over 1000 metres in depth and attempts to salvage the vessel will be demanding. But new statements from the company's spokesperson state that the 76-metre-long iconic landmark capsized but not sunk. 

The floating restaurant has been one of Hong Kong's most iconic tourist attractions. It suspended operations on March 3, 2020, after suffering years of losses. During its heyday, the 45,000sq ft restaurant catered to more than 2,300 diners at full capacity.

News about the restaurant leaving Hong Kong broke on May 30, which saddened Hongkongers who grew up with fond memories of the place. Due to a lack of funds, the legendary ship was not properly maintained. On May 31, the kitchen barge plunged into the water while awaiting its transfer. 

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