Speculation is running rampant regarding the future of the QE2, with recent reports stating that the iconic ship may be heading back down the Thames one more time.
A twenty strong Chinese crew boarded the vessel, currently positioned in Port Rashid, before Christmas, prompting speculation that the current owners, Dubai-based Istithmar had sold the QE2 as scrap to a Chinese company for £20 million.
Originally purchased by Istithmar from Cunard in 2008, the ship was slated for refurbishment into a 1,000 room luxury hotel located at the tip of Palm Jumeirah before the GFC hit the Emirate harder than anticipated.
QE2 London’s Roger Murray has told Cruise Critic that the reported deal with the Chinese has not yet been confirmed and that his organisation has the finances and the backing of the Mayor of London and Chancellor George Osborne to bring the liner back to London.
Delays caused by the Port of London Authority (P.L.A.) have put this plan into question with P.L.A.’s Martin Garside stating, “We would (also) need to assess any specific detailed proposal concerning a vessel that has not been in service a long period very carefully.
“It is very unlikely a ship of this size could be safely brought into London without fully operational engines, thrusters and rudders.”
Cunard have responded to concerned fans via Facebook in regards to the reported sale to the Chinese for scrap.
“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.”
Words: Natalie Aroyan