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QE2 to be sold as scrap to China?

Press Trust of India  |  London 

The move follows the failure of a last minute bid to bring the famous cruise liner back to Britain as a five-star floating hotel, the Daily Mail reported.

The ship has been moored in a commercial port in Dubai 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 less exotic Port Rashid for the last five years 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.

The QE2 London bid had the support of Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne and London Mayor Boris Johnson and claimed it 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 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.

Since 1985, China has acquired four retired aircraft carriers for study, the Australian Melbourne and the ex-Soviet carriers Minsk, Kiev and Varyag. In September, China's first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, was commissioned, refurbishing the Varyag.

QE2 sailed from 1969 to 2008.

In May 1982, the 70,000 tonne ship was part of the British task force used to recapture the Falklands. Three helicopter pads were installed and the passenger lounges were used as dormitories.

When Istithmar

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First Published: Mon, December 24 2012. 20:15 IST