QE2 'to sail from Dubai in October', owners say

Image caption,
The QE2 has already undergone a number of inspections, checks and upgrades in Dubai

The QE2 is set to sail from Dubai to China under its own steam in October for work to become a 400-room floating hotel in Asia, its owners have said.

The ship is to undergo extensive renovations with work to overhaul its engines already well under way.

Sold for £50m to the United Arab Emirates real estate developer Nakheel, the liner left Southampton for the last time on 11 November, 2008.

Its eventual destination as a floating all-suite hotel is yet to be revealed.

The ship's ownership will be transferred to a consortium of investors under a Dubai-based entity called QE2 Shipping, the chairman of the new company Khamis Juma Buamim said.

Memorabilia stored

He said the ship had already undergone a number of inspections, checks and upgrades so it can sail under its own steam.

It has also been brought back to class under the Lloyd's Register of Ships.

It is hoped the QE2 will leave Dubai in a "gala sail off" on 18 October with stops at Singapore and Hong Kong before arriving at a yet to be decided China shipyard to undergo its transformation into a hotel.

Memorabilia will be removed and stored in a secure warehouse in Singapore, to be reassembled after the renovation is complete.

Plans to convert the ship into a floating hotel and entertainment centre off Dubai's man-made islands in 2009 came to nothing after the economic downturn.

The 293.5m (963ft) long former Cunard flagship carried almost 2.5 million passengers and completed more than 800 Atlantic crossings following its launch from the John Brown Shipyard in Clydebank in 1967.

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