A Liverpool home for historic liner QE2? Don’t tell the Dubai owners

/, Cruise News/A Liverpool home for historic liner QE2? Don’t tell the Dubai owners

qe2liver.jpgA bold plan to provide a final resting place on Merseyside for ocean liner QE2 has been the subject of secret talks with Liverpool Vision, the economic development company responsible for the city’s regeneration.
The company has been involved in confidential discussions with Out of Time Concepts, a company headed by a former Chief Engineer on the ship, who recently advised its current owners on plans to turn it into a luxury hotel in Dubai.
During the discussions, it was suggested that the project could create 450 jobs and would be worth an estimated £178 million by 2018.
Out of Time claims to be involved in projects in the UK and USA “conservatively” valued between £30 million and £138 million, and offers potential investors a return of 40 per cent “with a reasonable exit strategy.”
John Chillingworth served on the QE2 during the Falklands War and advised Dubai World on their early plans. His company, Out of Time Concepts, suggested to Liverpool Vision chief executive Max Steinberg that the ship could become as closely associated with the city – whose Cunard Building is one of the waterfront’s architectural highlights – as The Beatles and Liverpool Football Club.
“The free global media attention derived from bringing home the QE2 will without question promote Liverpool’s new waterfront developments, its amazing architecture, its maritime and world heritage sites, its museums, its culture and its history,” says a letter from Out of Time Concepts, addressed to Steinberg.
With QE2 proudly placed on the waterfront, the letter adds, Liverpool would be established as “a major cruise destination and turnaround facility that few other world ports can beat.”
Liverpool Vision, whose board members include former Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy, and Liverpool City Council leader Joe Anderson, has a picture of QE2 berthed at the Pier Head at the top of its website.
However, no doubt wary of being branded the city which turned down a chance to bring the historic ship back to the UK, it has not made any announcement about its plans.
A wise move, in view of the latest from Dubai, who this week made a rare announcement about their own proposals for the ship, which they bought in 2008 for $100 million.
The original plan was to convert the 40-year-old vessel into a luxury hotel, to be moored at a purpose-built berth on the man-made Palm Jumeirah island.
The economic downturn has so far prevented any work being carried out on the ship, and it remains at Port Rashid, just a few hundred yards from visiting cruise ships. A skeleton crew of about 50 keep it in good condition, and it continues to produce its own power using the on-board diesel generators.
Responsibility for the vessel and its future appears to have been passed between different divisions of Dubai World, the government-owned company which paid $100 million to buy the ship from Carnival Corporation and Cunard.
This week Nakheel has said that plans for the Palm berth have been dropped because they now plan to build 102 houses on the site. QE2, under the ownership of Istithmar, will remain at Port Rashid to become an integral part of the growing cruise terminal.
“The QE2 will be placed in a much better location,” Ali Rashid Lootah, the chairman of Nakheel, told Dubai’s The National newspaper. “The Government of Dubai is developing an up-to-date modern cruise terminal. That will be better environment. It will stay in Dubai. The QE2 will stay in Dubai.”
Will speculation now end? I doubt it. Rumours have been rife from even before QE2 left Sounthampton in November 2008 for its farewell voyage to Dubai.
There was talk of a move to Cape Town to provide hotel accommodation for the 2010 World Cup but that came to nothing, as did a similar suggestion that it could be used at this December’s World Sailing Championships in Fremantle, Australia.
London, New York, Singapore, Clydebank – where it was built – and Southampton – its home port – have all be put forward as alternative resting places for the ship.
But Liverpool? I rather doubt it.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:00+00:00 28 September 2011|Cruise Destinations, Cruise News|2 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.


  1. Liam 29 September 2011 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Well, Even I didn’t know this was on the cards, I was thinking it was an April fools but checked the date! doh! 🙂

  2. David 21 November 2011 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    Yes Yes Yes

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