Cruise Arabia & Africa can exclusively reveal that DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem has confirmed that there is a new plan for QE2 and that the famous former Cunard ocean liner will not be scrapped, calling such rumours “absolutely false”.
Bin Sulayem heads up a sister company to Dry-docks World, with both entities being part of the Dubai World group, whose investment arm Istithmar purchased QE2 in 2008.
Sulayem therefore has intimate knowledge of the plans for the former flagship, which has been wallowing in Dry-docks World’s shipyard for several years.
She was recently moved from Drydocks World to Mina Rashid, Dubai’s dedicated cruise terminal, but is being kept apart from the cruise traffic visiting the port during the current high season.
It had been rumoured after the move that she might be bound for the scrap heap, but Sulayem said such rumours were categorically incorrect.
“There is a new plan for QE2, I cannot say what it is yet, but I can tell you that these reports that she is to be scrapped are absolutely untrue. QE2 will not be scrapped,” he said.
There have been a number of unsuccessful attempts by Dubai’s World’s equity arm to unburden themselves of QE2, including a much-publicised plan in 2013 to have her converted into a floating hotel in Asia.
The city was never disclosed, but it was rumoured that developers in Hong Kong were looking at taking the ship.
When she was purchased just prior to the 2008 crash, the plan had been to convert her into a 500-room floating hotel moored to the Palm Jumeirah.
There have also been rumours that she may be purchased by the Scottish government.
Councillor Stephen McCabe, leader of Inverclyde Council, recently announced an effort to buy the QE2 from Dubai and return it to the Clyde and Greenock dock on Scotland’s River Clyde, where the ship was constructed between 1965 and 1967.
Those plans have received the political backing of the Scottish government, but not its financial support and it is unlclear when Councillor McCabe may be able to make a concrete offer for the vessel.
However, it is unclear if these were the plans Bin Sulayem was referring to.