Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The Cunard Line ship has been in service since 1969, and is to become a floating hotel in Dubai. The homecoming was marred as the vessel ran aground on a sandbank near Calshot at the mouth of Southampton Water.
The ship hit the sandbank at around 0530 GMT, and five tugs took around 30 minutes to pull the QE2 clear. The 70,000 tonne vessel was towed into port and eventually docked at 0730 GMT according to the Solent coastguard. Around a thousand crew and 1,700 passengers were aboard the ship, which was returning from a cruise around the Mediterranean.
A number of festivities are set to occur today to mark the QE2’s last day in Southampton. The Duke of Edinburgh will visit the ship and observe the two minutes’ silence for Remembrance Day at 11am, while a Tiger Moth aircraft will fly over and shower the QE2 with a million poppies to mark the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day. The QE2 will leave Southampton for the final time this evening at 1915 GMT.
The QE2 has been referred to as the “world’s most famous ship” and has been a popular sight throughout her four decade career, taking passengers from Southampton on transatlantic cruises to New York and the Caribbean as well as the Mediterranean. During the Falklands War the vessel was commandeered and used as a troop carrier. For her conversion to a hotel, her distinctive funnel is to be removed and replaced by a steel and glass replica, which will house a penthouse suite.
The QE2 is scheduled to push off for its voyage for Dubai this evening around 7:15 pm with a fireworks display. Its final destination will be as part of a Nakheel Properties‘ resort.