No insurance payout for Jumbo floating restaurant owner


Owners of Hong Kong’s iconic Jumbo floating restaurant have confirmed they will not receive an insurance payout, following speculation about the circumstances in which the landmark capsized under tow.

Last week, MIN reported how the colossal, multi-storey restaurant encountered “adverse conditions” on 18 June as it was passing the Xisha Islands, also known as the Paracel Islands, in the South China Sea. Water entered the vessel and it began to tip. No injuries have been reported.

On Sunday (26 June), owners Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises released a statement confirming that the firm only held third-party insurance for Jumbo.

“The vessel is covered by a ‘protection and indemnity cover for third parties liability’ in accordance with maritime regulations. This insurance covers third party losses, not losses to the company,” the statement says.

Initial reports claiming the vessel had sunk were based on the owner’s original statement that it would be “extremely difficult” to carry out salvage works, “as the water depth at the scene is over 1,000 metres.” The Chinese version of the statement also added that the vessel had “completely filled with water” and had overturned.

However, on 24 June, the owners published a clarification that the vessel had capsized but not sunk, and was still afloat.

A spokesperson initially declined to respond to a question by CNN about whether this meant the vessel was salvageable.

Social media users in Hong Kong had raised speculation over the nature of the incident, given the apparent backtracking and a lack of any photos or images taken at the scene. Local news site HKFP reports that the tugboat that pulled Jumbo — South Korean-flagged Jaewon 9 — was also involved in a capsizing incident last December.

Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises states that the company had hired professional marine engineers to inspect Jumbo’s hull and hoardings and “obtained approval from the authorities before the vessel departed from Hong Kong”. The firm adds that the tug company that towed the vessel out of Hong Kong was hired by a licensed third-party broker,” and that the towing method was “in compliance with international maritime regulations and customary practices.”

The restaurant had been filmed on 14 June being towed away from the Hong Kong harbour where it operated for nearly 50 years. It was to travel to an undisclosed location to await a new operator, after making significant losses during covid.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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