A floating restaurant that was a famous Hong Kong landmark has sunk, days after it was towed from the harbor where it operated for nearly 50 years, the BBC reports.

The Jumbo restaurant sank in the South China Sea while en route to an undisclosed location, its parent company said.

Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said it was “very saddened by the incident” but that no crew members were injured. The restaurant was closed in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

More than 3 million guests are believed to have eaten its Cantonese cuisine over the years, including the Queen of Great Britain, Tom Cruise and Richard Branson. The restaurant has appeared in several films – including a Bond film – but the pandemic dealt a fatal blow to the business.

Vessel “encountered adverse conditions”

Marine engineers have been hired to inspect the floating restaurant before the voyage and “all relevant approvals” have been obtained, the owners said.

The vessel was to remain at an undeclared location awaiting a new operator. But it sank near the Paracel Islands after “encountering adverse conditions” and taking on water, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said, Mediafax writes.

“The water depth at the site is more than 1,000 meters, which makes it extremely difficult to carry out rescue work,” he added. Although the pandemic was the last straw for the restaurant, it had been facing financial problems for years.

Operator Melco International Development said last month that the business had not been profitable since 2013 and was making heavy losses.

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