Hong Kong’s Floating Restaurant Sinks at Sea, Laden With Memories

In a statement, the company said that Jumbo “began to tip” on Sunday as it was passing by the Paracel Islands, a chain of disputed islands in the South China Sea where China, Vietnam and Taiwan lay territorial claims. It said the accident occurred in an area where the water depth is over 1,000 meters, or 3,280 feet, “making it extremely difficult to carry out salvage works.”

Stephen Ng, a spokesman for Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises, declined to comment on speculation online that the boat might have been scuttled for insurance purposes. There was no immediate evidence to suggest foul play.

In its statement on Monday, the company said it was “now getting further details of the accident from the towing company.” It did not name the towing company.

Not everyone liked Jumbo. Ho-fung Hung, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University who has studied Hong Kong politics, called it “self-orientalizing” and said it was not worth getting nostalgic over.

“Overpriced bad food for clueless tourists seeking awkward exoticism,” he wrote on Twitter last week. “Get lost and don’t come back.”

But for some residents, losing Jumbo was part of a pattern in which things they love about their hometown have vanished since the 2019 protests. A few social media users described the sinking this week as a “nail in the coffin” for the city. Others called it a “burial at sea.”