Last updated on December 17th, 2022 at 02:02 pm
Hong Kong’s iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant has capsized in the South China Sea less than a week after it was towed away from the city, its parent company said Monday.
The restaurant encountered “adverse conditions” on Saturday as it was passing the Xisha Islands, also known as the Paracel Islands, in the South China Sea, and water entered the vessel and it began to tip, according to Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises Ltd.
The company said no one was injured, but that efforts to save the vessel failed and it capsized on Sunday.
“As the water depth at the scene is over 1,000 meters, (it makes it) extremely difficult to carry out salvage works,” it said in a statement.
It said the company “is very saddened by this accident.” The Jumbo Floating Restaurant, almost 80 meters (260 feet) in length, had been a landmark in Hong Kong for over four decades, serving Cantonese cuisine to over 3 million guests including Queen Elizabeth II and Tom Cruise.
It closed in 2020 due to the pandemic and laid off all its staff. Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said the restaurant became a financial burden to its shareholders, with millions of Hong Kong dollars spent on its inspection and maintenance even though it was not in operation.
The restaurant was towed away last Tuesday. The company said it planned to move it to a lower-cost site where maintenance could be carried out.
It said that prior to its departure, the vessel had been thoroughly inspected by marine engineers and hoardings were installed, and all relevant approvals were obtained.
“The company is now getting further details of the accident from the towing company,” the statement said.
Jumbo Kingdom: Jumbo floating restaurant
Jumbo Kingdom consisted of the Jumbo Floating Restaurant and the adjacent Tai Pak Floating Restaurant, which were renowned tourist attractions in Aberdeen South Typhoon Shelter, within Hong Kong’s Aberdeen Harbour. During its 44 years of operation, over thirty million visitors visited Jumbo Kingdom, including Queen Elizabeth II, Jimmy Carter, Tom Cruise, Chow Yun Fat, and Gong Li. A subsidiary, Jumbo Kingdom Manila, also operated in Manila Bay, Philippines, but it was closed after eight years of operation. Jumbo Kingdom was part of Melco International Development Limited, a company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
It suspended operations in 2020 amidst the coronavirus outbreak and on 14 June 2022 was towed out of Hong Kong to an unspecified location to await a new operator. While being towed in the South China Sea, it experienced bad weather and capsized near the Paracel Islands on 19 June 2022.
Who owns Jumbo Floating Restaurant?
Over 30 million visitors have visited Jumbo Kingdom, including Queen Elizabeth II, Jimmy Carter, Tom Cruise, Chow Yun Fat, and Gong Li.
|Food type||Cantonese, dim sum, Western|
|Street address||Shum Wan Pier Drive, Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen, Hong Kong|
Jumbo Floating Restaurant History
The Tai Pak Floating Restaurant was established in 1952 when Wong Lo-kat purchased a boat and transformed it into a floating restaurant spanning 32 metres (105 ft) in length. Six years later, Tai Pak was extended to accommodate 800 guests. The second Tai Pak floating restaurant operated from Castle Peak, now Tuen Mun, and sold off and relocated to Guangxi in the 1980s.
Wong constructed a second restaurant, Jumbo Floating Restaurant, in Aberdeen Harbour. On 30 October 1971, a four-alarm fire occurred at the Jumbo Floating Restaurant before its opening which left 34 dead and 42 injured.The new Jumbo Floating Restaurant was built at Kowloon Chung Hwa Shipyards in Yau Tong.
The Jumbo Kingdom was established in October 1976 by Stanley Ho after four years and over HK$30 million were spent to design and build it. It was originally decorated in the style of an ancient Chinese imperial palace. In 1980, Ho purchased Tai Pak and in 1982, Ho purchased Sea Palace. During the 1980s, Jumbo Kingdom included Jumbo, Tai Pak, and Sea Palace.
In 2000, two tugboats brought one of the floating barges (Sea Palace) from the Aberdeen Harbour to the mouth of Manila Bay, and it was rebranded as the “Jumbo Kingdom Manila”.Much of the original ancient Chinese imperial palace style renovation was retained. The Manila restaurant closed in 2008.
The Jumbo Kingdom went through a major multimillion-dollar renovation in 2003. The restaurant had an area of 4,200 square metres (45,000 sq ft) and could seat 2,300 diners.
On 1 March 2020, the restaurant announced it would be closed until further notice and laid off all staff due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Capsizing of Jumbo Floating Restaurant
On 30 May 2022, parent company Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises announced the restaurant would leave Hong Kong in June 2022. Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises Limited offered to donate the floating restaurant for free, though without success as all interested parties cited high operating costs. At roughly 11pm on 31 May, the kitchen boat of the restaurant began listing after a hull breach occurred. This occurred as preparations were being made to tow the restaurant elsewhere. Jumbo Kingdom was eventually towed out of Hong Kong on 14 June, though the kitchen boat was left behind.
On 19 June 2022, while being towed in the South China Sea, it experienced bad weather and capsized near the Paracel Islands in waters over 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) deep. There were no casualties.
- Roof Deck: An alfresco banquet hall located on the top deck of Jumbo.
- Dragon Court: Dragon Court was a fine dining Chinese restaurant located on the first deck of Jumbo. The interior design of the restaurant is a mixture of Ming Dynasty and contemporary Chinese.
- Cooking Academy: A Chinese culinary school taught by the chefs of Jumbo Kingdom.
- Sampan Dining: Hong Kong dining from a bygone era, serving seafood meals on a sampan.
- The Chinese Tea Garden.
- Shum Wan Pier Garden: Outdoor venue for wedding and cocktail receptions.
- Bronzeware Exhibition
- Wine Garden
A staff canteen was located on the fourth floor of Jumbo Kingdom, named So-Kee Coffee Shop Traditional Hong Kong-style fast food such as sandwiches, hotdogs, noodles, soft drinks, coffee and tea were provided.
In popular culture
- The Jumbo Floating Restaurant appears in Jackie Chan’s The Protector (1985), The God of Cookery (1996), Godzilla vs Destroyah, Infernal Affairs I and Contagion (2011).
- The Tai Pak Floating Restaurant was featured in Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955) and Enter the Dragon (1973).
- Jumbo Kingdom also appears in the video games Fatal Fury 2, Fatal Fury Special and Sleeping Dogs.
- It has appeared in various episodes of The Amazing Race and its international spinoffs.
- The British miniseries Noble House shows the compound being destroyed by a fire. The Japanese anime Mister Ajikko also had a few episodes using Jumbo Floating Restaurant as a scene. However, the floating restaurant appeared in Victoria Harbour in the anime, rather than Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, the actual location of the restaurant.
The Jumbo Kingdom was formerly accessed via a free shuttle boat from Aberdeen Promenade or frompier.