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Dubai Buys Queen Elizabeth 2
Dubai Buys Queen Elizabeth 2

Britain’s most famous ship, the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise liner, is being bought by the government of Dubai through the state-owned private equity firm Istithmar for $100 million US.QE2 currently belongs to Carnival Corp, the world’s largest cruise operator. Istithmar PJSC investment firm will take delivery of the 40-year-old ship in November 2008.
The Cunard liner is to become a floating
hotel and museum that will draw tourists to one of Dubai’s man-made islands.The famous liner will be anchored off the Palm Jumeirah, a palm-fronds shaped island which is being built off Dubai’s coast by government-owned developer Nakheel.

Dubai is the second-largest of seven sheikhdoms that make up the U.A.E. and is investing in tourism, real estate and financial companies to diversify away from oil. The largest visitor attraction under development is Dubailand, a $20 billion theme park and entertainment complex three times the size of Manhattan.

“Dubai is a maritime nation and we understand the rich heritage of QE2,” Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Istithmar’s parent Dubai World, said for the Gulf Daily News.

RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 is a Cunard Line ocean liner named after the earlier Cunard liner RMS Queen Elizabeth. She was the flagship of the line from 1969 until succeeded by RMS Queen Mary 2 in 2004.Built in Clydebank, Scotland, she was considered the last of the great transatlantic ocean liners prior to the construction of the QM2. Before she was refitted with a diesel power plant in 1986, she was also the last oil-fired passenger steamship to cross the Atlantic in scheduled liner service.

During almost 40 years of service, the QE2 has traveled the world and now operates predominantly as a cruise ship, sailing out of Southampton, England. She will be retired from active service in late 2008, and replaced in the Cunard fleet by MS Queen Victoria.

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