The former Cunard flagship QE2 has been moved from Port Rashid to Dubai DryDocks World.
According to a post on the ‘Save the Qe2’ Facebook page, the move occurred on Sunday afternoon. The ship was towed from Dubai Cruise Terminal 1 in Port Rashid to the adjacent Dubai Drydocks World by a fleet of tugs, as she is no longer able to move under her own power.
QE2 leaves Port Rashid bound for Dubai Drydocks World – picture from ‘Save the QE2’ Facebook page.
Cruise Arabia & Africa was able to confirm her new location in drydock, although none of the officials that we approached at the facility were prepared to comment on the nature of the work to be done.
— Cruise Arabia (@CruiseArabia) March 19, 2018
However, a group of construction workers at Terminal 1 (which has been renamed the QE2 Hotel Terminal), said that she was being dry-docked in order to remove the propellers. QE2’s twin variable pitch propellers will be put on display for guests of the planned QE2 Hotel, the workers said.
None of them agreed to speak on the record. These plans have not been confirmed by DryDocks World or its owner DP World, which operates Port Rashid and the Port Rashid Marina in which the QE2 Hotel will be located.
Neither organisation replied to Cruise Arabia & Africa’s request for comment.
QE2’s distinctive funnel pokes out above DryDocks World.
QE2 at Dubai Drydock’s No.3 dock, where she will reportedly have her propellers removed.
These latest developments come after more than two years of intensive refurbishment work on the former ocean liner. In 2015, Al Shafa Construction announced that it had been selected to perform a comprehensive redevelopment of the ship.
In December last year, the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei announced that it had won a contract to install a ‘world class’ Wi-Fi network aboard the ship in preparation for her role as a floating hotel. The QE2 Hotel, as she is to be called, according to a new website, will be part of the new Port Rashid Marinas re-development of Dubai’s cruise port.
During a visit to the new marina, we saw a new gangway structure that has been installed. This will likely be the entryway to QE2 in her new role.
It seems then that the ship’s future as a floating hotel based in Dubai is one step closer to realisation.
In 2015, when there were rumours of the ship’s imminent scrapping, DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem assured Cruise Arabia & Africa that such reports were ‘totally false’ and that there was a ‘new plan’ for the ship.
It would seem that this was the new plan to which he was referring. However, fans of QE2 are unlikely to be thrilled at the prospect of her propellers being removed.
When her lifeboats were removed as part of the renovation to hotel ship, it sparked debate. many pointed out that such alterations were not done on SS Rotterdam during her conversion to floating hotel.
It is more costly to maintain a ship with propeller shafts intake. Even Rotterdam had hers’ removed and put on display during her conversion.