Image: QE2
Karim Sahib  /  AFP - Getty Images file
Emirati men walk past the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) cruise liner as it rests in port in Dubai last November.
updated 3/9/2009 11:16:14 AM ET 2009-03-09T15:16:14

The Dubai developer that bought the British cruise ship QE2 said Sunday it remains committed to renovating the vessel despite speculation that it lacks the money to turn it into a luxury hotel.

State-owned Nakheel has been hounded by questions that it may shelve the renovation plans. Some media and blog reports have suggested that the ship might be scrapped altogether.

In an e-mailed statement, the company said it is examining the aging ocean liner ahead of restoration but has no plans to sell it.

New engineering drawings have been commissioned for parts of the vessel — a process the company described as "time-consuming" but necessary before restoration work can be carried out. The process is unlikely to be completed before the end of summer, Nakheel said.

In the meantime, the developer is weighing various design options and is considering opening the ship to visitors for a time in its present state.

"Irrespective of short-term plans, the ultimate goal is to renovate and refurbish QE2, and for her to be the focal point of a luxury precinct dedicated to her," the company said.

A spokeswoman said plans to turn the ship into a hotel docked alongside the company's manmade Palm Jumeirah island remain unchanged.

Nakheel agreed to buy the 42-year-old QE2, one of the world's best-known cruise ships, from the Cunard Line for $100 million in 2007. The ship was delivered in November, just as fallout from the economic crisis grew more acute in Dubai.

Since late last year, Nakheel has cut hundreds of jobs and postponed several projects, including a tower planned to be the world's tallest and a high-end hotel being built with Donald Trump.

Launched in 1967 by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, the QE2 was the longest-serving ship in Cunard's 168-year history, carrying more than 2.5 million passengers on some 800 trans-Atlantic voyages.

The ship is currently moored at Port Rashid in downtown Dubai.

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