Monday, December 24, 2012

UK Reports: QE2 Sold for Scrap - Updated

Update below original story

According to UK newspaper reports, The classic Queen Elizabeth 2 has apparently been sold for scrap to a Chinese yard.

The oceanliner has been sitting in a port at Dubai since its purchase by resort interests there in 2008. The original plan was to convert it to a luxury hotel for use there, but that plan was shelved when world financial markets tightened. A crew of 40 to maintain the vessel has been constantly aboard since the handover.

The UK reports say QE2 was sold to Chinese interests for 20 million pounds. It's original sale price was 64 million pounds, and it has been running up fuel and docking fees since.

The reports say that a crew of 20 Chinese replaced the original crew last Friday, indicating a change of ownership. The rumor is that the ship will be going into drydock before leaving for an undisclosed destination in Asia. That would seem to point to it ultimately being scrapped.

Reports from the UK are notoriously unfounded, but this one seems to have a lot of detail with it, and it's quite possibly true.

British interests had been negotiating to purchase the ship and bring to back to the UK for use as a hotel, but those hopes would now seem to be ended.

In an unusual move, Cunard has issued a statement saying they have been in contact with "Dubai" regarding the stories published in British newspapers "and to the very best of our knowledge this story is pure speculation."

This is unusual in that in the past Cunard has never wanted to comment on their former vessel. The attitude seemed to be that it was no longer theirs, so anything to do with it was no longer their business.

Beyond that, while it is reassuring what Cunard said, they actually have no more information than anyone else. If the Dubai owners aren't ready to confirm the sale to anyone else, they aren't likely to confirm it to Cunard, since Cunard has no interest in the project, past or present.

As we mentioned in the original article UK media often runs with reports without verification, and they were saying the Dubai owners were not commenting, but this does have a lot of detail, and the Dubai owners were not denying the story either. If they have no interest in selling the ship, logic would say they'd be very quick and very public about denying the reports. There seems to be a lot of smoke for no fire. One explanation may be that a sale may not have closed yet, but it could in the near future. Time will tell.

By the way, Cunard has commented to CND in the past that they have absolutely no interest in reacquiring the vessel.