QE2 fans voice outrage as new images show iconic ship left “to rot in obscurity” in Dubai port

Exclusive: Photos taken within the last few weeks show the legendary ocean liner still docked in Dubai, despite claims it was to be converted into a luxury floating hotel in Asia.

Former passengers, employees and enthusiasts of the iconic QE2 ocean liner have contacted Arabian Business to voice concern that the legendary ship has been left to “rot away”, after new photos appeared online in recent weeks of the ship still docked in Dubai's Port Rashid.

The Dubai-based owner of the liner announced in October last year it had appointed the COSCO Shipyard Group to refurbish the ship into a luxury floating hotel.

QE2 Holdings said in a statement that the cruise ship, which has hosted kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers and celebrities throughout its legendary 40-year history, will depart from Dubai and arrive in COSCO Shipyard’s facility in Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province, China.

Once there, it claimed it would receive a makeover, which was due to be completed by 2015. As part of the refurbishment, the existing 990 staterooms were to converted into 400 premium suites ranging from 60 to 150 square metres.

Khamis Juma Buamim, chairman of QE2 Holdings and Dubai’s Drydocks World, said last year he will not be sorry to see the back of the ship when it leaves the emirate in October 2013 but claimed the Dubai authority had “fantastic” plans for the much-loved ocean liner and the funding was in place to rebrand as a floating hotel to be based in Asia.

However, new images have emerged online showing the ship still docked in Dubai’s Port Rashid.

Images on Google Earth (left) also clearly show the former Cunard vessel still clearly docked alongside the port. Two years ago, reports claimed the ship had been sold to Chinese scrap merchants for £20 million ($31 million), as Dubai authorities struggling to keep up with the ship's £650,000 per month maintenance costs.

Repeated plans have been announced for the future fate of the ship, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017, since it was sold to Dubai at the height of the property boom in 2008. With plans appearing to stall once again, many fans, passengers and former employees of the ship have contacted Arabian Business to express disapproval at its current state, with one recent photo showing staff members roasting a pig during a BBQ on its outside decks.


Rod Fair, a former engineer on the QE2, told Arabian Business: "I cannot for the life of me understand why this magnificent ship is sitting there rotting, AND costing somebody a fortune, when it could well be elsewhere being useful,” said Rod Fair, a former engineer on the QE2."

Marc-Antoine Bombail, author of several books on the QE2 said: "The Queen Elizabeth 2 has to be preserved for future generations because she is a vision of majesty, power, luxury and elegance with no equivalent in today's shipping world. To let QE2 rot away or get scrapped would be a supremely uncivilised outrage. What is happening to her since 2008 is just nonsense.

“I still hope Dubai will eventually find the amount of inspiration and courage (not just money) required to preserve QE2 in a sustainable and creative manner, like the Americans did with Queen Mary, the Dutch with Rotterdam and the Japanese with Hikawa Maru. Even if this means sending her to London, where a smart and exciting project is ready for her. She deserves such a positive, innovative and realistic project at long last. And so does her loyal following worldwide."

Alan Snelson, a photographer who worked on the ship added: "QE2 was for many years the most famous ship in the world. Wherever in the world I travelled on her I only had to say "QE2" to any taxi driver and I would be taken straight there. Now she is suffering the ultimate indignity of being hidden away in an industrial dockyard and seems to be being left to wither away. A great many people in Dubai don't even seem to realise she is still there! If no viable plan can be put in place by her current owners then they should be able to release her to someone who can save her before the damage is irreversible.”

Click here to read more comments from QE2 fans, and former employees and passengers

Click here to see a gallery of images of the QE2 in Dubai’s Port Rashid

A spokesperson from Drydocks World declined to comment on the status of the QE2 and its future plans when contacted repeatedly by Arabian Business.

For more updates and information on the QE2 click here.

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Posted by: Eric Griffin

I am also astonished to see this iconic liner rotting away, the master plan to convert her was a truly fitting and superlative concept where tourists could have the lifetime opportunity to stay on board this amazing liner. I am from a strong merchant naval background and where the liner will be difficult to sail now as she has been left as you say to rot in the searing heat of Dubai.
The owners of this vessel clearly did not have a concrete plan in place to refit this iconic liner. I am British and to see this happening to her is the worst that can happen to her I do sincerely hope that the money moguls of DXB will get a business plan together and get her sent of to the ship yard quickly or in real terms she will for sure end up in India on the beach which is exactly what happened to the P&O Canberra and others. To move her will cost a fortune, possible she may need a tow to the shipyard now .. we all pray for good news?

Posted by: Stanislav

I see here some comments, that She needs only some refurbishment)))) All pipes inside is a scrap, all engines are dead and never will be repaired, as it is impossible to find spare parts for Her engines. Steel also require replacement. All wooden decks are completely destroyed by the heat. Sure that to build replica is cheaper, than to repair existing one))) Sorry but this is true.
I am one of the Officers been there since 2012 till 2014. I know, what I say! Regarding pigs on open decks))))) - is lie! Why? Because according to Dubai Drydocks rules, all fire works are strictly prohibited without their permission, and if to take into account, that especially for QE2 all hot works were prohibited since 2013, then about which pigs we are talking?
P.S. Sorry for my poor English)))

Posted by: Antoinne

These "outraged" people are all members of an enthusiast website. There are only about a dozen of them who post regularly. They seem obsessed with the QE2.

They use emotive phrases such as "disgraceful", "terrible", "dangerous" and "heartbreaking" every time a former employee posts a photo of the ship looking dirty, or with doors open.

Everyone else is disinterested and use the many modern cruise ships that have replaced this nearly 50 year old ship.

The enthusiasts do not appear to understand economics. The QE2 is floating scrap. Dubai's plans for it are gone. Plans to take it elsewhere/convert it to another use have faltered, no doubt because funding cannot be raised/it would cost more to convert/update it than to build a new ship/hotel.

It is dirty because it costs money to clean. The doors are open because it is hot and the air-conditioning is turned off to save money. The ship will be sold for scrap in the future. Meanwhile it is preserved, sensibly as cheaply as possible.

Posted by: Colin

A Ship rots very quickly in the UK's climate

Posted by: Jon

I just cant undersand why anyone would spend $100 Million buying it and teh $650k a month just to let it sit there and rot.

We were lucky enough to cruise on her, during her last two months of service with Cunard, yes, she needs some money spending on decor etc, but i am sure that she could once again be a name that evokes class, luxury and magnificance.

I just hope it is sooner rather than later, I would love to have a final look around the ship, because i fear that she will not be with us for very much longer.

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