QE2 to move from Dubai to Cape Town?

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Yet another one of Dubai’s major developers, Nakheel, is feeling the crunch.

The owner of the famed Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise liner paid nearly 60 million € in 2007 for the iconic vessel and had been hoping to turn it into a luxury floating hotel off the Palm Jumeirah island off the coast of Dubai.

Now, there are possible plans to move it from Dubai and anchor it permenantly off of Cape Town, possible even in time for next summer’s World Cup, which will be hosted in South Africa.

Business Day, a South African business magazine, reported on July 10 that the decision to berth the QE2 would be taken soon.

Ronel Bester, the [Department of Tourism]’s spokeswoman, said yesterday that the department was aware of the plans, but several approvals were required before any decision could be made.

“The National Ports Authority has to decide on the practical implications of berthing (and) a decision has to be taken by the department on the desirability of allowing the QE2 to berth in Cape Town in the light of the available accommodation in the city and surrounds. We are consulting with the industry and the department will take a decision by the end of next week,” Bester said.

Nakheel, like Emaar and Deyaar, is trying reevaluate its large-scale projects, reports The Associated Press on July 12:

In March, the company sought to quell speculation it lacked the money to renovate the QE2, one of the world’s best known cruise liners. It said at the time it had commissioned a “time-consuming” engineering survey of the ship and remained committed to refurbishing it.

Still, the company has been forced to rethink even more ambitious plans in recent months. The developer has shelved numerous projects, such as a glitzy hotel with Donald Trump and a skyscraper designed to top a Dubai rival’s set to become the world’s tallest. The company has acknowledged taking a share of $10 billion in government bailout funds and is aggressively trying to re-negotiate existing contracts with suppliers.

Nakheel late last year announced it was cutting 500 jobs, or about 15 percent of its staff. Local media reports have suggested the layoffs have continued, with several hundreds more losing their jobs in recent weeks.

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