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Fans of Clyde-built QE2 fear liner may be sold to Chinese for scrap

QE2 enthusiasts fear for the future of the Clyde-built luxury cruise liner amid concerns that a bid to bring her back to the UK may have been sunk.

CLYDE-BUILT: The QE2.
CLYDE-BUILT: The QE2.

Fans of the vessel, built at John Brown's yard in Clydebank, admitted they were worried by reports she is about to be sold to the Chinese, having been moored in Dubai since being sold in 2008.

In the summer, Istithmar World PJSC, an offshoot of Dubai World that bought the 963ft cruise ship for £64m, announced plans to convert the liner into a 300-room hotel. However, QE2 London presented Dubai with a £70m bid to bring the QE2 to London and convert it into a five-star hotel moored opposite the O2 Arena in the UK capital.

The group, which had the support of Chancellor George Osborne and London Mayor Boris Johnson, now says the ship is "almost certainly" being sold for scrap and will be taken to the Far East.

Glasgow-based Rob Lightbody, a QE2 enthusiast who set up a tribute website and forum dedicated to the liner, said he was worried about its future, but added that talk it was going to be scrapped might be scaremongering.

"I think it is more likely that it is going into service in China but it is not an appropriate location," he said. "There is no connection with history there.

"It would be more appropriate to come to Southampton, or New York or even Scotland, but we haven't got the money."

A Chinese crew of around 20 has reportedly boarded the QE2, raising fears it has already been sold. For the last four years, a team of 40 people had been maintaining the QE2 in Port Rashid.

Roger Murray, of QE2 London, said: "Our investors were going to give £20m for the ship itself plus £60m for renovation and the cost of bringing the ship back to Britain. But the ship could raise as much as £20m as deadweight scrap and the Chinese cash would be immediate."

When Istithmar bought the QE2 from Cunard it agreed it would not sell it on for at least 10 years. The liner, launched in 1967, made its final voyage in 2008. It had been planned the ship would move to an artificial island off the Dubai coast.

Istithmar and Dubai World were unavailable for comment.

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