QE2 owner denies ship sell off

Published: 18 Feb 2009 09:00

But firm refuses to deny it is laying off staff as credit crunch bites

THE new owner of the majestic QE2 liner claims to have no intention of selling the ship for scrap, despite rumours she is to fall victim to the credit crunch.

But a spokeswoman for Nakheel, the Dubai-based masters of the Clydebank-built vessel, refused to deny the firm has laid off staff and is scaling back other projects as the global economic crisis bites even the oil-rich United Arab Emirates.

Nor would Nakheel be drawn on reports it is keeping the QE2"s engines working when questioned by the Post.

The QE2 cruised into her new home in the sun in November but no work has yet been carried out to turn her into the floating luxury hotel envisaged by Nakheel, a government-owned developer.

A spokeswoman for Nakheel said: 'The plans for QE2"s full restoration and refurbishment are ongoing as we continue to investigate all our options for optimising this fantastic asset.

'Once these plans are complete, she will undergo refurbishment - including restoration of key historical areas - and become the focal point of an extensive, multi-faceted precinct off the trunk of Palm Jumeirah where cultural and entertainment experiences will combine to re-create an authentic luxury ocean liner ambience and lifestyle.

'A heritage museum displaying artifacts from the QE2 and of local maritime history is a key feature of the precinct.

'We have no intention of selling the ship.'

The developer"s intention to keep the liner - despite not starting work on her - comes as a blow to figures on the Clydeside and in the QE2"s home port of Southampton, where hopes were still harboured that she could be brought back to the UK.

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