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UK politicians back motion to return QE2 from Dubai

ABU DHABI // Thirty-six members of the British parliament have signed a motion calling for the Queen Elizabeth II ocean liner to be returned to Scotland from its Dubai berth.

The early day motion, a measure to call for a formal debate in parliament, has been predominantly backed by members of the Scottish National Party (SNP).

After expressing “grave concern” at the condition of the vessel, the members are urging the UK foreign office to “seek reassurances from the government of Dubai about the future of the Queen Elizabeth II and, where possible, to assist those in Scotland who seek its repatriation”.

The motion also notes the “architectural, engineering and historical importance of the Queen Elizabeth II to the history of these islands; and supports calls for the return of the Queen Elizabeth II to its home on the [River] Clyde”.

The motion’s primary sponsor is the SNP’s Martin Docherty, MP for West Dunbartonshire, the area of Scotland where the QE2 was built in the 1960s.

“I would call on all involved to discuss jointly the future of the QE2,” he said.

Mr Docherty has joined an increasing number of Save the QE2 campaigners hoping the ocean liner will be sold to them.

The 47-year-old vessel’s last voyage ended in Dubai in 2008, after which she was purchased by her current owner, Dubai World, for an estimated Dh367 million.

The owners had intended to convert the vessel into a 440-room floating hotel in The Palm Jumeirah, but those plans were scuppered by the 2009 economic downturn.

Dubai World is now reportedly considering its options regarding the future of the QE2.

Whatever its final location, any restoration and conversion project would be expensive, with some estimates putting the cost at Dh500m or more.

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(via The National)