Jumbo Seafood Restaurant Is Still Afloat Near Paracels Islands


The Jumbo Seafood Restaurant was towed away from Aberdeen on June 14, 2022. It was initially planned to go to a Southeast Asian country for repairs. There was a report of a “sudden sinking” of the vessel whilst it was on its way. However, a few days later, the Marine Department said that the “Boat” was still “afloat” around the waters near the Parcel Islands.

On June 21, 2022, the Sing Tao Daily, on its American Chinese website, quoted from Philip Mak Shun-pong (麥順邦), chairman of the Hong Kong Insurance Professionals Association (HKIPA), that the insured amount of the said seafood boat is estimated to be at least HK$100 million (US$12.8 million). Conspiracy theories circulating on the Internet suggested that, by letting the boat sink, the owner not only could save millions of dollars every year in maintenance costs, but also gain through insurance claims.

However, on June 26, Hong Kong 01 reported that the owner of the boat, The Aberdeen Catering Group, issued another statement, clarifying that the boat itself holds only insurance to indemnify and compensate third parties, which does not include any compensation for losses suffered by its owner company. In other words, the Group will not receive a single penny of compensation for the damage, and in the worst case, sinking, of the seafood boat.

The Group also stated that before the boat left port, it had hired marine engineering experts to fully inspect the hull and install hoardings on all sides. Seaworthiness approval had been obtained from the authorities. To make the trip doubly safe, they also hired a professional tugboat company to oversee it along the way. However, due to extreme weather condition, as soon as it entered the waters near the Parcel Islands, the hull began to let in water. The tugboat tried the rescue but was unsuccessful, and the boat finally fell over and overturned.

The Group also stressed that, not long after the accident, it had submitted a marine accident report to the Marine Department. The local Sansha (三沙) Maritime Safety Administration was also aware of the report and was following the incident closely. After they consider local and international maritime rules and regulations, appropriate measures will be taken to follow up. The tugboat is still near the seafood boat, that is, in the vicinity of the Parcel Islands, to help maintain the safety of the waterway.

 

Connie Yuen

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