Image courtesy of Marc-Antoine Bombail http://www.mab-creations.ch/Maboceanbooks/
QE2 has been in the news again. Mostly bad news, but with a glimmer of hopeful news. This News of potential scrapping and or sale to Far East buyers hit the newspapers just before Christmas. Adding legitimacy to this concern are confirmed reports that her current able crew that had been taking care of the ship at considerable expense had been dispensed for a much smaller Chinese crew unfamiliar with the operations of the ship. A trip to the scrappers could be in her future, but a group of investors in the UK have approached the ships current owners with a viable plan to return the ship to the UK, London specifically. Word of her imminent demise eventually reached Scottish newspapers as well. Southampton papers, with obvious QE2 ties picked up the story as well. I posted a link to the article at the Cunard forum in Cruise Critic with the hope of generating some interest, which they shortly picked up on the news and ran an article on their news page.
It appears that the main hurdle may be Cunard itself, who reportedly had a 10 year scrapping clause inserted in the sale agreement, a wise decision considering the bad press that was generated when this scrapping rumor was floated out just before Christmas. Loyal fans, myself included posted comments to the Cunard Facebook page regarding the scrapping rumors. I politely asked Cunard to comment on the status of the ship. With all the backlash mounting on their website, Cunard wisely released this:
We have noted the messages of understandable concern with regards 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 rumours as we have seen over recent months. Our best advice would be to ignore the story.Best regards,
Current news on the fate of the ship can be found here. Rob Lightbody can take pride in that the website he owns and moderates has consistently reported on actual facts regarding the status of the ship. Rob reported on the V-Ships crew departure and his rightful concern that this move could be the beginning of the end.
Rest assured the plan presented by QE2 London is real and is viable. While I have previously blogged on the viability of returning the ship to the Clyde and Clydebank specifically, permanently berthing QE2 in London makes the most sense for the long term viability of the ship to operate as a hotel, restaurant, museum, or all of the above. Finally, the UK's Daily Mail, who brought us the original rumor, now has done some more reporting and has reported on QE2 London's plan to bring her home to the UK, but once again, full of inaccuracies and poor reporting. Keith Hamilton, a reporter from the Daily Echo, whom I believe is a fan of QE2 filed this report on the QE2 London plan. Maritime Matters detailed report on the London plan included renderings of the ship in its proposed location.
Sure, the naysayers are about, trying their best to poke holes in this plan, but experts quoted in the various news reports state that the ship CAN be brought up the Thames and a suitable site is available, ripe for further economic development. QE2 fans, contact Cunard and urge them to lend their support to this endevour. With official Cunard backing, rest assured, this will go along way to healing the wounds when they announced the sale of QE2 to Dubai. QE2 is a maritime icon, a national treasure, and the world's most famous ship. It was a shame she was let go to Dubai. Now is the chance to get her back!