Published on Monday, July 8, 2013

QEII sails for a new home somewhere in Asia

The QE II ocean liner will leave Dubai on October 18 - final destination unknown.

A Dubai-based entity will fund the ship's US$90 million transformation into a 400-suite luxury hotel to be moored in Asia.

The new company, QE2 Holding, comprises local and foreign investors involved in the project's operations, while the ship will continue to be owned by the Dubai government.

The project is expected to be finished in 2014.

Drydocks World chairman Khamis Juma Buamim, whose company is a unit of state-owned Dubai World, said the ship is being moved to Asia to take advantage of the demand for hotel rooms in the region.

As a hotel, the ship will have suites available for rental or sale to long-term occupants, Buamim said.

The vessel is being made seaworthy before leaving Dubai for an overhaul in China.

Buamim declined to answer questions on where in China the refit will take place or the ship's destination as a hotel.

Istithmar World, a government-owned company in Dubai, bought the ship from Cunard for US$100 million in 2007 but it has languished in the UAE after plans to refurbish it as a luxury hotel failed to materialise in the wake of the GFC.

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