Monday, 24 December 2012

The QE2 to be 'sold for scrap' to Chinese




The QE2 to be 'sold for scrap' to Chinese

Former Cunard flagship The QE2 is set to be sold to the Chinese for scrap for £20 million after a bid to bring it back to the UK as a five-star floating hotel failed.
The ship has been moored in a commercial port in Dubai since it was sold for £64 million in 2008.
A British consortium presented owner Dubai World with a bid to bring the QE2 to London and convert into a five star hotel moored opposite the O2 Arena.
The QE2 London bid could have brought up to 2,000 jobs to London.
However a Chinese crew of around 20 boarded the QE2 last Friday leading to fears it has already been sold as scrap, the Daily Mail reported.
They replaced a crew of around 40 who had been maintaining the QE2 in Port Rashid for the last four years.
Roger Murray of QE2 London told the newspaper: “We have been told the ship is going to be put into a dry dock before being taken to an unknown destination in the far east.
“That is a tragedy because it almost certainly means the QE2 is being sold as scrap.
“Our investors were going to give £20 million for the ship itself plus £60 million for renovation and the cost of bringing the ship back to Britain.
“But the ship could raise as much as £20 million as dead weight scrap and the Chinese cash would be immediate.”
Alaric Errington from an organisation called Equity in Finance was leading the investment consortium behind the QE2 London bid.
He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity and we put forward a very commanding commercial proposition that was designed to give Dubai a future return.
“The QE2 is an icon but our proposal also makes business sense. The cost of renovating the QE2 and bringing it back to the UK is no more than acquiring land in central London to build a luxury hotel.”
When Istithmar – part of the state conglomerate Dubai World - bought the QE2 from Cunard in 2007 it agreed it would not sell it on for at least ten years.
But a source close to Dubai World said he believed “a contract modification could be agreed” allowing it to be sold on for scrap, according to the report.
Dubai World was unavailable for comment.