Queen Elizabeth Wreck in Hong Kong

Mike Cooper

Member
Nov 18, 2011
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I lived in Hong Kong for 19 years and have always been facinated by the QE after seeing her in Sounthampton as a 5 year old. I decided to do some reseach while I was there as I was disappointed that there was no sign of the wreck whern I arrived in 1988.

The Hong Kong Public Records Office has a lot of information and photos both about the fire and the subsequent scrapping of the wreck which was largely undertaken by Korean divers. I believe one poor soul was killed during the operation which was obviously very difficult and dangerous. If you want to go there you will need to register as a Reader which is very straightforward.

I also spoke at some length with the Marine Department and the guy who was then in charge of dredgingthe harbour. He was familiar with the wreck and knew quite a bit about it.

The first thing to understand is that the layout of the harbour has changed considerably since 1972 because of landfill. THe area occupied by the wreck was open sea but in the early to mid 90's the area around there was reclaimed to build Container Terminal 9 and the road link out to the new Hong Kong airport at Chek Lap Kok which opened in 1997. Around 25% of the wreck is still down there, unsurprisingly it was not possible to get it all up off the seabed. The keel and the engines are still at the bottom.

The head of dredging at the Marine Department told me taht the front portion of the wreck, around 20% was incorporated into the foundations for Container Terminal 9. I do recall this receiving a lot of local publicity at the time in The South China Morning Post. The road link to the new airport runs very close to this point and there was discussion at the time about it being diverted to avoid the wreck. How accurate this is I do not know but it may explain the rumours about the wreck beeing incorporated into the foundations of the new airport. For the record, the wreck of the QE is around 10 miles from the airport.

The area occupied by the wreck is clearly marked on Sea Charts. It is a QE shaped area marked as "FOUL" meaning underwater obstructions, do not attempt to anchor here.

If you visit Hong Kong, there is a small "shrine" to the QE at the Aberdeen Boat Club with two of the brass fire warning system plaques on display that were recovered from the wreck site some years ago during a dredging operation. It is a private club so you'll need to ask permission to see it.

I do have a copy of the sea charts with the wreck marked which I will attempt to upload if/when I can find it!