Did you have "Jumbo Floating Restaurant Sinks" on your 2022 Bingo card?
June 21, 2022 8:16 AM   Subscribe

 
I’ll take Things I Didn’t Know Existed But Am Not Terribly Surprised About for $500, Alex.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 8:19 AM on June 21 [16 favorites]


At least it's not blocking a canal.
posted by Monochrome at 8:21 AM on June 21 [20 favorites]


Did I miss one of these links having photos or video of the sinking? Hell of a thing not to get on camera.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:23 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Hell of a thing not to get on camera.

Not when you're very likely committing insurance fraud.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:25 AM on June 21 [58 favorites]


"In a statement, the company said that Jumbo 'began to tip' on Sunday as it was passing by the Paracel Islands, a chain of disputed islands in the South China Sea where China, Vietnam and Taiwan lay territorial claims. It said the accident occurred in an area where the water depth is over 1,000 meters, or 3,280 feet, 'making it extremely difficult to carry out salvage works.'"

Or an insurance investigation.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 8:31 AM on June 21 [32 favorites]


Not when you're very likely committing insurance fraud.

I mean, it's not like it was in financial difficulties -- oh wait..
The restaurant closed in March 2020, citing the Covid-19 pandemic as the final straw after almost a decade of financial woes.

Operator Melco International Development said last month the business had not been profitable since 2013 and cumulative losses had exceeded HK$100 million (S$17.7 million).

It was still costing millions in maintenance fees every year and around a dozen businesses and organisations had declined an invitation to take it over at no charge, Melco added.
"Whoops, it sank! Oh well."
posted by fight or flight at 8:34 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


I think I saw this in a Ghibli film.
posted by adept256 at 8:34 AM on June 21 [9 favorites]


You would think a whole lotta people coulda lived in it. It was a pragmatic move.
posted by Oyéah at 8:37 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Not when you're very likely committing insurance fraud.

Oof. Good point. Reminds me of the truism: "The most flammable thing known to man is an unprofitable individually-owned restaurant."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:40 AM on June 21 [18 favorites]


Aw man, I would have enjoyed a floating restaurant.

Love the topic here, btw.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:52 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


What a cool reef (ecological costs aside). I have no SCUBA experience but as dangerous (impossible?) as this would be to explore, I still wanna. Maybe drone tours?
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 9:01 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


I went there several times as a kid. Really weird to imagine Aberdeen Harbour without it there.
posted by Dysk at 9:07 AM on June 21 [8 favorites]


A maritime academic said it was still possible to salvage the wreckage but the operation would cost at least HK$10 million (US$1.27 million).

That seems surprisingly cheap.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:09 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


The McBarge abides...
posted by Marky at 9:18 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


"We were using it temporarily to store dynamite while looking for a new owner. Who could have imagined this outcome?"
posted by fatbird at 9:26 AM on June 21 [6 favorites]


I don't know what Hong Kong's insurance industry looks like, but I imagine there are a lot of fraud investigators eagerly donning scuba suits.
posted by Zargon X at 9:34 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Financially struggling asset?
Being towed for storage at an undisclosed location?
Sinks unexpectedly?
No injuries?
Air cover from “all approvals had been given”?
In a place difficult to salvage or investigate?

Yeah…..I mean…..smells like at best someone didn't want to pay fees to maintain it somewhere and at worst wants an insurance payout.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 9:48 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]




I like these Jumbo Floating Restaurant Sinks but they're too large for my kitchen. Do you have one in Medium?
posted by What is E. T. short for? at 10:34 AM on June 21 [11 favorites]


Most unfortunate. [ twirls moustache ]
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:39 AM on June 21 [6 favorites]


Who collects insurance when it's under the sea?
HongKong FraudPants!
Owned and operated by a shell LLC
HongKong FraudPants!
If writing off troubled assets is something you wish
HongKong FraudPants!
Then put a hole in the deck and sink with the fish!
HongKong FraudPants!
posted by inflatablekiwi at 10:56 AM on June 21 [12 favorites]


Any time I'm starting to feel especially clever, I'll do well to remember that I clicked through the link because I was baffled by what a "jumbo floating restaurant sink" could possibly look like.
posted by Caxton1476 at 11:00 AM on June 21 [18 favorites]


Flickr has a ton of awesome pictures of this place, inside and out. It was spectacular, in the most literal sense.

I suppose there's no reason to guess such a novelty tourist trap would have the best food in town, but now I'm a little sad that I will never be able to see it, even if I luck into a chance to see China.
posted by Western Infidels at 11:13 AM on June 21 [6 favorites]


is it possible to scuba that deep? its over 1000m.

I hope its not as much of an ecological disaster as I fear it might be :(
posted by supermedusa at 11:17 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


a quick google seems to indicate that no one has ever scuba'd nearly that deep. you'll need a submersible!
posted by supermedusa at 11:19 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Seriously, though, there's plenty of robot subs that can do that kind of inspection.
If they were hoping for an insurance payout, I doubt they'll get one.
If they just wanted to get rid of the thing and aren't going to make a claim, I doubt the insurers will bother.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:31 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Once upon a time, we decided to make the trek out to Jumbo, because it was the kind of kitschy tourism we enjoyed: It was no longer dim sum hours, and we didn't eat anything there (if you're going out to some brightly colored restaurant boat, cuisine is probably not its greatest draw), but while looking around, we saw a room or two crowded with older Chinese folk, gaming away on mah-jong tables, noisy with Cantonese calls and the clack clacking of tiles. I wasn't expecting there to be this gaming room, but I guess I'm not surprised: Mah-jong seems to be some default activity of the older generation between meals.

I will miss it.
posted by Seboshin at 11:43 AM on June 21 [4 favorites]


I'm certainly in no position to debunk the insurance fraud theory. But let's just for the sake of argument assume for a moment that they weren't deliberately trying to scuttle it.

Take a look at that thing! Floating at quayside in Hong Kong harbor is one thing, but if it was towed out into the open sea, is it really all that surprising that it sank?
posted by Naberius at 11:45 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]


I don't find it surprising that a giant top-heavy barge intended for permanent moorage in a harbour would easily capsize and sink when towed in the open ocean, especially if the weather was a bit off. I imagine all they had to do is tow the thing and wait for nature to take its course; no need to intentionally scuttle it.
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:46 AM on June 21 [5 favorites]


Yeah, or if you wanted to sound more professional, then that.
posted by Naberius at 11:48 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


What a cool reef (ecological costs aside). I have no SCUBA experience but as dangerous (impossible?) as this would be to explore, I still wanna. Maybe drone tours?

I thought the same thing, but 1,000 meters is too deep for a reef. Still diveable though.
posted by benbenson at 11:57 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Sad to hear this -- my wife and I ate there in 2000 when I was doing a work stint in HK. It was such an institution...
posted by AJaffe at 11:58 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]


The McBarge abides...

A few years ago some coworkers based in Vancouver were joking about buying the McBarge, and I suggested that with the right musical theming, and an incessantly looping playlist, it could be the El DeBarge McBarge.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:59 AM on June 21 [5 favorites]


is it possible to scuba that deep? its over 1000m.

Nope, your lungs your be the size of sesame seeds ;)
posted by WaterAndPixels at 11:59 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


I've been at this restaurant, all the way back in 1997. I was visiting Hong Kong with someone who had lived there many years before. He didn't recognize the city anymore--it had modernized and built up so much. This restaurant was in an area of southern Hong Kong which hadn't changed as much. It was fun to explore the huge ornate restaurant after eating a meal there.

I imaging over the years, as Hong Kong became even more modernized, the restaurant probably looked more and more out of place.
posted by eye of newt at 12:05 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


I read about it in the morning (my time) and for understandable regional reasons, it wasn't insurance fraud that I was thinking of, but that this is a very sneaky plan to move the borders of the Sea in China's favour.

Insurance fraud is more likely though. (Or is it??)
posted by cendawanita at 12:41 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


生意不好?

他妈的,付钱给我。

哦,你着火了吗?

他妈的,付钱给我。

那个地方被闪电击中了,是吗?

他妈的,付钱给我。
posted by kirkaracha at 12:46 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


The restaurant set off shortly before noon last Tuesday from the southern Hong Kong Island typhoon shelter where it had sat for nearly half a century.
Strong Douglas Adams energy in this sentence.
posted by glonous keming at 12:56 PM on June 21 [8 favorites]


I ate here three years ago when I went to visit a cousin who was living and working in Hong Kong. We hadn't planned to go there, but ended up in the area, hangry at lunchtime and took the boat out. A little food, a little wine and a bunch of ornate golden dragons were just what the situation called for. I've seen people online calling it a tourist trap and I'm sure they got their fair share, but it seemed to me like the kind of place that did a lot of weekend brunches, birthday dinners, wedding receptions, prom dates and other special occasion dinners. We had a good meal and a good time, I'm glad that I had the chance to eat there.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:11 PM on June 21 [6 favorites]


Really weird to imagine Aberdeen Harbour without it there.

It!? I thought there were three. The big Jumbo in the center, but aren't/weren't there two smaller ones, on either side? According to this they were the Sea Palace, the Yu Lai Tai and the Tai Pak.
posted by Rash at 1:16 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Related: Jumbo Floating Restaurant’s kitchen boat listing into waters of Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter

I guess there was a separate Kitchen Boat? This was dated June 1st:

Floating in Hong Kong’s Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter for nearly 50 years, the kitchen boat next to the city’s famous Jumbo Floating Restaurant on Tuesday night began taking on water after a suspected hull breach, listing into the waters at its home for the last several decades.

Marine police and firefighters were called to the scene at around 11pm yesterday after receiving reports of the listing. It was understood that no one was on board the kitchen boat, and authorities were still investigating the cause of the list. Workers could be seen setting up “oily water separators” around the ship on Wednesday morning. However, there was no confirmation of any oil spills from the boat.

The incident came one day after the parent company of the floating restaurant announced in a statement that the restaurant would be departing the city next month as they were running out of money to keep the structure in good condition. Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said in a statement that there is no available dry dock for Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Hong Kong, and it is unable to carry out large-scale inspections and maintenance for the floating restaurant every three years. As a result, it has decided to move Jumbo Floating Restaurant out of Hong Kong next month for inspection, maintenance, and storage.

The company said over the past year, the company had discussed with more than a dozen companies and institutions to donate the Jumbo Floating Restaurant for free as part of the Invigorating Island South project announced in the 2020 Policy Address, but all parties said operating costs were too high.

It added that the expenditure of an average of millions of Hong Kong dollars every year to inspect, repair, and maintain the restaurant to meet its license and other requirements has laid a heavy burden on the company and its shareholders, especially under the current economic environment.

The statement also noted that the vessel license of Jumbo Floating Restaurant will expire in June this year, and “it is foreseeable that the seafood restaurant will not resume business in the short term.”

posted by I_Love_Bananas at 1:20 PM on June 21 [3 favorites]


Ah, my question answered here: Queen Elizabeth, Chow Yun-fat, Gong Li and Tom Cruise have all eaten at Hong Kong’s Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurants -‌- but how much of its history do you know?
Before 1999, the Jumbo Kingdom was made up of three parts, the Sea Palace, the Jumbo Floating Restaurant and the Tai Pak.
I would add to that number the Kitchen boat, around back, making it four parts.
posted by Rash at 2:21 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Some history about the original Tai Pak restaurant (1952) of The World of Suzie Wong and Love is a Many Splendored Thing fame and the Jumbo Floating Restaurant (1976) which burned even before it opened. "The Tai Pak is like the restaurant equivalent of Paul McCartney, doing all the work while its famous partner takes all the credit."
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:21 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


I suppose there's no reason to guess such a novelty tourist trap would have the best food in town, but now I'm a little sad that I will never be able to see it, even if I luck into a chance to see China.

Actually, the food was also great. One of the house specialties was Peking duck, served over three courses in the traditional fashion, and it was in fact one of the best in town. It was traditional cuisine, not Heston Blumenthal, but it was good at what it did.

A massive tourist attraction, for sure, but not a trap.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:28 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]


So for SCUBA context, the absolute deepest you can go as a recreational diver is 40 meters, and even then, you'll only be there for a few minutes before you need decompression stops, and you won't have the gas for those, so you'll either drown or get bent if you stay too long.

Technical divers can make it to 100m or more, but that's only for the most experienced divers, and it gets you a lot of deco. Past 200m, and you start running into issues where the gas you're breathing becomes really dense, and you get weird things like the Bernoulli effect causing your bronchial tubes to close if you exhale or inhale too fast, which will kill you fast.

I really wish they would have sunk this somewhere actually diveable, even in the 50-70m range...
posted by fnerg at 2:30 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


I'm certainly in no position to debunk the insurance fraud theory. But let's just for the sake of argument assume for a moment that they weren't deliberately trying to scuttle it.

I mean, the excuse for towing elsewhere it was that it required maintenance. So let's subject the compromised vessel to unprecedented stress in open water, and then it sinks to 1000m down where insurance assessors will never be able to get to?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:37 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


From the dusty recesses of my childhood mind, in the mid-1980s there was an extremely hokey mini series called Noble House, starring Pierce Brosnan and John Rhys Davis, which had a massive action setpiece in which the Jumbo burned and sank. So even though there's no video, there's video. The scene starts here if you want to see what it looked like in its heyday, and the explosions start here. Why does it explode? It doesn't matter, it's some 'business is war' nonsense.

I was 8 years old when I saw this, so clearly it made an impression.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:47 PM on June 21 [9 favorites]


I 100% read this as giant sinks meant for restaurants floating in the South China Sea. I guessed perhaps it was some weird art exhibition.
posted by SoberHighland at 2:55 PM on June 21 [4 favorites]


I imaging over the years, as Hong Kong became even more modernized, the restaurant probably looked more and more out of place.

Three decades ago, my mom took me there for lunch. She is Hong Kong born and had grown up in Hong Kong back in the heyday of the floating palace, when it was destination, special occasion dining for the rich and famous. As a sign of how pleased she was to visit this icon of her youth as an adult and be able to bring her child, I was permitted to order the rare treat of a can of soda.

They brought it to the table, just a can of just-slightly-cooler-than-room-temperature soda. My seven year old, American-born self looked at the can, then at the space where the glass of ice cubes would be, then back at the can, and chirped, in Cantonese, "Can I have some ice, please?"

And the waiter took one look at me and said, with the kind of condescension I have only ever gotten in Fortnum and Mason's* and from a truly old-school Cantonese-speaking waiter, "夠凍咧!"**

Anyways, fond memories of a Hong Kong that was fast disappearing even before the crackdown from the mainland in recent years.

* A very, very fancy English food shop; the main floor is mostly for American and Asian tourists to be jam and biscuits, but the generationally posh still shop at the grocery story in the basement and have tea at the salon on the fourth floor.
** "It's cold enough!"
posted by joyceanmachine at 3:42 PM on June 21 [10 favorites]


For those of us lacking Chinese literacy… Here is what Google thinks kirkaracha wrote up there:

bad business?

Fuck, pay me.

Oh, are you on fire?

Fuck, pay me.

That place was struck by lightning, didn't it?

Fuck, pay me.
posted by njohnson23 at 4:28 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


I got to eat there once too, over twenty years ago. (That's all.)
posted by of strange foe at 6:35 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Why does it explode?

Because they stacked 55 gallon drums of diesel in the kitchen, actually. I'm starting to believe that the floating restaurant had 'insurance claim' written on its birth certificate.
posted by fatbird at 7:28 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Here is what Google thinks kirkaracha wrote up there

Which is a classic quote on the insurance fraud topic. 这是我能用谷歌翻译做的最好的事情。
posted by kirkaracha at 11:24 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


I read today that it didn't sink. It might be listing, but it is above water. People are clamming up about this, maybe keeping their options open, always mentioning the water is 1000 feet, or meters, deep where it currently lists. It is crazy to not use it for housing. Anyway...Here
posted by Oyéah at 7:01 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]




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