Jumbo Floating Restaurant was an icon synonymous with Hong Kong since it’s opening nearly 50 years ago. At 250 feet (76 meters) long it served Cantonese cuisine to millions of customers/tourists over the years from its mooring in the safety of Hong Kong’s Aberdeen Harbor.
The restaurant closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic. The owner, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises, said the restaurant was too expensive to maintain in Hong Kong with large sums required for inspection and maintenance even though it was not in operation. A suitable shipyard was located for Jumbo in Southeast Asia, but the company did not say where. The towing operation began on June 14, 2022.
The restaurant was being towed through the South China Sea to the undisclosed port when it encountered adverse seas on June 18 and began listing. On Sunday, Jumbo capsized and sank in deep waters near the Paracel Islands.
The owner consulted maritime engineers and made a few minor structural modifications for the voyage. Still, towing Jumbo on a multi-day voyage through the open ocean seems like the height of folly. That is unless the owner figured that Jumbo at the bottom of the sea was worth more than Jumbo as a floating restaurant.
I’d seen Jumbo a few times but somehow never got around to eating there. Did you ever have the privilege of dinning at this iconic restaurant?