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There’s confirmation this morning that the former Cunard ocean liner QE2 will be moving to Cape Town in time to provide accommodation for next year’s World Cup.
The ship, which had sailed more than six million miles by the time she was retired last November (picture above), was bought for £50 million by a Dubai company which planned to convert her into a luxury hotel and provide her with a permanent mooring at the glamorous Palm Jumeirah.
No visible progress has been made on that plan in the last eight months that the ship has languished lonely and unloved at a container quay, as rumours grew about her future.
A spokesman for owners Nakheel said: “It has been our intention for some time to provide a short term opportunity to enjoy QE2 as a stationary hotel in her current condition before refurbishment begins.
“It is clear that Cape Town provides the best opportunity for us to open QE2 to visitors as quickly as possible. The forthcoming 2010 Football World Cup makes a sensible business case for moving her there.”
Subject to agreement from the local authorities, the ship will be berthed at Cape Town’s Victoria and Albert Quay, which is part-owned by Nakheel, for up to 18 months.
QE2’s engine room has been maintained in full working order since retirement, so she will be able to make the voyage from Dubai to South Africa under her own power, but the terms of the sale agreement from Cunard will prevent her from carrying passengers on the journey.