Hong Kong’s iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant has sunk in the South China Sea after leaving the city last week.

The vessel encountered adverse weather conditions when passing the disputed Paracel Islands – also known as the Xisha Islands – its owners confirmed.

Jumbo Floating Restaurant on June 14, 2022. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

“Despite the efforts of the towing company responsible for the trip to rescue the vessel, unfortunately it capsized on Sunday,” a statement from Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said on Monday night.

They added that, since the water depth exceeded 1,000 metres, it was too difficult to carry out salvage works.

No crew members were injured.

The 46-year-old landmark was set to be refurbished in China after plans to revitalise it in Aberdeen fell through. It was towed out of the city last Tuesday.

Jumbo Floating Restaurant on June 14, 2022. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

The almost 4,200-square-metre tourist attraction had suffered accumulated deficits of more than HK$100 million since 2013, and its situation worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier in June, the kitchen flotilla sank in Aberdeen harbour.

Jumbo Floating Restaurant on June 14, 2022. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

“The company is now getting further details of the accident from the towing company,” the statement said.

The company has declined to say where the restaurant was destined to go.

When it was first announced that Jumbo would be towed out of the territory, artist Ah To published a cartoon on June 1 showing it sinking to the bottom of the sea.

Last week, the incident was also seemingly foreseen by artist SurrealHK, in a similar artwork published to his social media feeds.

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Tom Grundy

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.