Image: Debra James / Shutterstock.com
Cunard denies move to sell QE2 as scrap
London, December 25, 2012
Cunard Line, the former owner of Queen Elizabeth 2, has rejected media reports that the iconic ocean liner may be sold as scrap to Chinese investors by its current Dubai-based owners.
The report is pure speculation and should be ignored, said a message on Cunard's Facebook page.
Istithmar - part of the state conglomerate Dubai World - bought the QE2 from Cunard in 2007. According to reports, under the sale agreement, it cannot be re-sold for at least 10 years.
"We have noted the messages of understandable concern with regards to the recent article in the Daily Mail with reference to QE2. We remain in close contact with Dubai and can reassure you that to the very best of our knowledge this story is pure speculation - one of a number of stories and rumours as we have seen over recent months," said the Cunard message.
"Our best advice would be to ignore the story," it added.
The ship has been moored in Dubai's Port rashid since it was sold for 64 million pounds in 2008.
Dubai had originally planned to convert the QE2 into a 1,000 room luxury hotel at the tip of the famous man-made Palm Jumeirah island.
After the emirate was hit by the global financial crisis, the liner has remained in the port with running costs of 650,000 pounds a month.
Earlier this month, a British consortium presented Dubai with a 70 million pounds bid to bring the QE2 to London and convert into a five star hotel moored opposite the O2 Arena.
However a Chinese crew of around 20 boarded the QE2 last Friday leading to fears it has already been sold as scrap, the Mail said.
They replaced a crew of around 40 who had been maintaining the QE2 in Port Rashid for the last four years, it said.
Roger Murray of QE2 London said: "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," Murray said, adding that the ship could raise as much as 20 million pounds as dead weight scrap.