A ship known as the QE2 was once a ship that only royalty and celebrities could board. However, times have changed, and now even ordinary people do not have any use for it. The ship once had bars and dining rooms on the lower decks. They now sit empty and dirty, not being used by even the crew.
A photographer has recently taken photos of the “before” and “after” of the QE2. When the ship was in its prime, it held the Queen, George W. Bush, Nelson Mandela, Ginger Rogers, and Debbie Reynolds. Now, the ship has been docked for nearly six years in Dubai, awaiting its renovation. It was promised that it would be able to return to sea in 2013, making its first sail to China. That was three years ago and it still sits in the water, rotting away and perhaps never to see the promised renovations.
The boat was to be converted into a 400-suite floating hotel for nearly 60 million pounds. The plans for this are waiting to be announced as well, but if the plans for the hotel go through, the workers will renovate the ballroom, seven restaurants, ten lounges, and even a cinema.
However, the ship has to prove that it is still able to sail without any issues. The longer it sits in the water untouched, the more likely it will never be able to sail. Several former crew members and campaigners are angered to see this large ship sitting idle in the water. They want to see the ship return to its splendor and the condition it once was in.
Louis de Sousa, who worked on the ship for nine years during the 1990s, said that the ship is an icon and that the people are letting it sit there, rotting away. It’s like the owners of the ship and the dock owners don’t even care. Unlike other ships, this one can be renovated and used for many years to come. De Sousa said that it probably would have been better if the ship had gone to a scrapyard at this point. That way, he and the other workers would have had better memories of the ship. With it sitting in the dock, the workers get to see nature slowly taking its toll on the large ship, decaying it slowly day by day. When de Sousa was shown the photo of men slow-roasting a pig on the ship, he said it was rather disrespectful of them to take advantage of it.
Another man who runs the QE2 website, Rob Lightbody, said that he’s anxious about what will happen to the ship. They keep making all of those promises, yet the ship sits in the dock day in and day out. He said the worst part of it is that these empty promises get everyone’s hopes up, and then all of a sudden the plans fall silent, leaving everyone in the dark thinking, when will it happen?
He said the saddest thing of all is that the QE2 is the last of the ship’s type. It was British-built and designed by a British crew. The main issue is that the ship is docked in the wrong place. It should be docked in Britain, not Dubai. He said that the people in Dubai do not even care that the ship is there, nor do they know just how special that ship really is.
One of the photographers who worked on the ship, Alan Snelson, said that someone should just come forward and let everyone know that there are no plans in store to have the ship renovated. That way, campaigners and donors can work hard at saving the ship while it’s still in fairly good condition. If the ship has to wait any longer, the damage will soon be irreversible and it will then have to be scrapped for sure.
The ship carried nearly 2.5 million people and had done nearly 700 Atlantic crossings since its launch at John Brown shipyard in Clydebank in 1967. The QE2’s original home port was Southampton; it had been sailing from there for nearly 40 years when it was sold to Dubai in 2008.