Cruise History and News: Rumor Mill Over Dubai-Based QE2 Liner Scrap Threat – Former owner Cunard Line dismisses reports that the Queen Elizabeth II liner will be scrapped.
As reactions spread around the globe on Facebook, Twitter, newspapers comments and enthusiasts’ websites, Cunard have felt it necessary to issue a statement on their own Facebook page regarding the UK Daily Mail’s story recently on speculation that the QE2, the last of the Clydebuilt Queens, was on its way to Chinese breakers.
Cruising The Past found many conflicting stories regarding the QE2 scrapping. Cunard Line contacted the current owners of the QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 and then posted the following on their Facebook page:
“We have noted the messages of understandable concern with regard to the recent article in the Daily Mail with reference to QE2. 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 rumors as we have seen over recent months.”
The Facebook statement was followed by many expressions of disbelief and comments from people who refuse to accept Cunard’s assurances.
The Mail’s story has resulted in an online wave of anger and disgust that seems to have overwhelmed appraisal of the former Atlantic liner’s current position.
Testament to the affection with which the ship is regarded amongst the general British public but drowns out Cunard’s intervention, which seems to be an attempt to cap a well at a distance.
With the Christmas holiday season in full swing it is hard to gain facts on the story, one that has so far has been repeated in newspapers such as the UK Telegraph via the UK Mail original.
Cunard’s terse and understated response concluded with:
“Our best advice would be to ignore the story.”
The UK’s Daily Mail reported yesterday that the rumours may be true, and that she is bound for a scrapyard, possibly in China.
To most it is thinking the unimaginable, that a liner of such iconic status could suffer the shipbreakers torch, but the same fate has happened to other notable and well-loved liners, such as ss NORWAY and ss CANBERRA.
So far though, it is still speculation. The Mail reported that a UK consortium had come with a plan to bring the liner home and dock her in London as a piece of real estate, but details of this are almost nigh impossible to find on the internet, despite the project having the backing of such notables as Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, according to the Mail.
Initial plans when the transatlantic liner was bought by Dubai firm Istithmar seem to have fallen through and purists no doubt breathed a sigh of relief as this would have seen the ship altered visibly and her original fittings removed, but then in July of this year it was announced she would become a museum piece incorporating a 300 bed hotel and that she would stay at Port Rashid as part of a redevelopment plan for the area.
Cynics would say this appeared simply to mean the new owners couldn’t afford to strip her and redesign her, but the ships owners said it was because ‘people liked her the way she was’.
The ship is still active. She has been managed by VShips Leisure since 2008 and although Equasis still lists her as being managed by them, the Mail says that her crew have been replaced by a Chinese crew and that she is being prepared for drydocking to pave the way for her final voyage to a Chinese breaker.
However, there appears to be no hard evidence for any of this speculation, and the only mention of the British project is to be found via the Mail’s report and its subsequent repostings all over the forums, news sites and websites in the world.
Much of the speculation centers around the fact the ship is ‘languishing’ in Port Rashid, and whilst it is true this port hasn’t the glamour of her intended location, nevertheless it is a cruise ship port (in fact is was given the World’s Leading Cruise Port at the World Travel Awards 2012), and plans are being made to develop the area to attract even more cruise ship calls. In these QE2 would be very significant, if not indeed central. She is also currently used as a venue in any case. It also seems highly unlikely the world’s most recognizable (and undoubtedly most famous) liner would be offloaded for mere scrap value.
So is she going to be scrapped? Who can say except the current owners, so perhaps we’d best wait until they make an announcement…