Iconic floating restaurant starts to sink, could leave Hong Kong permanently as owners can't afford to run it

A kitchen barge attached to the main vessel capsized.

Andrew Koay | June 05, 2022, 12:17 AM

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Hong Kong is in danger of permanently losing an iconic landmark (or seamark) — the famed Jumbo Floating Restaurant.

According to The South China Morning Post, the latest mishap to befall the restaurant was the capsizing of a 30m kitchen barge attached to the main vessel.

Police and firefighters inspected the barge — which had tilted almost 90 degrees — and found that no one was injured or missing.

Investigations are still ongoing as to what exactly caused the capsizing.

Too expensive to repair and maintain

Just days prior, the company that owns Jumbo Floating Restaurant, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises, announced that it would be moving the vessel out of Hong Kong for repairs and storage.

It cited the "heavy financial burden" of inspections, maintenance, and repairs as being too much for it to endure in the current economic climate.

The vessel will remain in storage until a new operator takes over; previous negotiations to hand the restaurant over to Ocean Park fell apart reported SCMP.

According to the Hong Kong Free Press, Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam had previously pledged to revitalise the failing restaurant.

However, she appeared to backtrack on her promise when addressing the vessel's plans to leave Hong Kong.

"We have clearly indicated that the government has no plans to invest money in the operation of the restaurant," she said.

Movie icon

Located in Aberdeen Harbour, the restaurant featured in several movies, including Jackie Chan's 1985 film "The Protector" and Stephen Chow's "The God of Cookery".

It was opened in 1976 by Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun.

SCMP reported that it had closed its doors "until further notice" on Mar. 2, 2022, after falling on hard times during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Marketing Interactive, news of the kitchen barge sinking stirred online chatter about heritage conservation; some online called for the vessel to be preserved on land.

As it is, no long-term solution has been found that would keep the operation of Jumbo Floating Restaurant afloat in Hong Kong.

Top image from Jumbo Kingdom's Instagram page