Imperial-style Jumbo to vanish from Aberdeen waters - RTHK
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Imperial-style Jumbo to vanish from Aberdeen waters

2022-05-30 HKT 22:30
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  • The Jumbo Floating Restaurant has been a fixture in Southern District for more than four decades. Image: Shutterstock
    The Jumbo Floating Restaurant has been a fixture in Southern District for more than four decades. Image: Shutterstock
Hong Kong's Jumbo Floating Restaurant is sailing away from Aberdeen harbour after more than four decades, its owner announced on Monday.

Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises explained that the vessel's license is set to expire next month and that it is searching for a proper docking space for the floating restaurant, pointing out that Hong Kong currently does not have a shipyard that can house and carry out regular maintenance for the massive structure.

"As different sectors in Hong Kong have been hit by the fifth wave of infections, we foresee that the Jumbo floating restaurant cannot return to business in the near future," said the company.

The former tourist destination saw its operations suspended in March 2020 after suffering years of losses.

It was donated to Ocean Park as part of the government's plan to develop the Southern District.

But the amusement park later said it could not find a third-party operator to run the restaurant.

Its operator revealed that it had offered to donate the restaurant to more than 10 catering firms and organisations but no one was willing to take it up due to cost concerns.

Southern District councillor Paul Zimmerman said the government would need to grant Ocean Park "a special jumbo loan" to take on the floating restaurant.

"Alternatively, we need Covid measures to be lifted and tourism to resume before any commercial enterprise can be found interested in taking over Jumbo," Zimmerman said.

The company pointed out that it takes millions a year to keep the restaurant in shape to fulfill its licensing requirements.

It said it has decided to send the vessel away for maintenance and storage until a white knight appears to bring a new way out for the floating restaurant.

Floating restaurants first appeared in Aberdeen harbour shortly after World War II.

On 30 October 1971, a fire broke out on the Jumbo Floating Restaurant before its opening which left 34 people dead and 42 injured. It was eventually opened in 1976 by Stanley Ho and was originally decorated in the style of an ancient Chinese imperial palace.

Over 30 million people have visited the floating restaurant, including Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Tom Cruise and Gong Li