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SEA WOLRD - MINGHUA
The Ancerville was built by Chantiers de
l'Atlantique, St Nazaire, France for the Compagnie de Navigation Paquet in 1962.
She was launched on 5th April 1962 by President Charles de Gaulle, having a
height of 9 decks, length of 168 meters , width of 21 meters and displacement of
After a maiden voyage to the Canary Islands, she
started on the route Marseilles – Dakar via the Canaries and Casablanca.. At the
time she was the largest French liner on the Dakar route, sailing in tandem on a
weekly service with Paquet-fleetmate Lyautey.
In 1970 her ownership transferred to the Nouvelle
Compagnie de Paquebots, Marseilles.
Three years later she was sold to the Peoples
Republic of China and renamed Minghua. She was placed on the China to East
Africa service transporting Chinese technicians to Tanzania. After 1981 she
operated cruises from Australia as a one class 380 pax cruise ship operated by
Burns Philip & Co an Australian travel agency/ cruise operator.
In 1983 Minghua was retired from active service and berthed at Shekou, Shenzhen,
Guangdong Province, China for static use as a hotel/ convention centre. This
area is located on the Pearl River delta across from Hong Kong. Completely
rebuilt, she featured 250 hotel rooms, chinese and western restaurants, several
bars and a dance hall, swimming pool with health centre and also part of the
vessel was used as an exhibition centre. Although she was still named Minghua
until 1991 in Lloyds register (although even today the name of Minghua is still
on her hull), she was renamed Sea World by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping who even
stayed on board overnight. So now she was in a new role as a hotel and
entertainment complex as part of the Sea World Plaza in the Shekou Industrial
Zone which was then being developed by the China Merchants Group. Later, next to
the ship, a golf court was constructed, leaving the ship completely landlocked,
sitting next to the golf court as the berth around the ship eventually was
filled with sand…..
I found this photoraph on the internet, if you are the photographer please
contact me so I van give the proper credits!
Today Shekou is a popular expat residential
community, many cross the border to Hong Kong daily. In 1998 the ship closed due
to management difficulties and after a fire. She sat silent for three years.
Tehn, renovation work started and close to a 100 million yuan have since been
invested during a refurbishment between 2001 and 2004. When the complex reopened
in December 2004, Minghua was again ‘floating” as water had been pumped around
her hull.. Today she remains a popular hotel, restaurant and entertainment
complex and still is part of the Sea World complex, which is a popular area in
Shekou for both expats and Chinese locals to explore at night as it features
dozens of international restaurants and bars to spend the night….
Sea World Company has taken Fisherman s Wharf in
San Francisco, entertainment centres Langui Fang in Hongkong and New World in
Shanghai as examples. It is expected that Shekou will become the most convenient
passage connecting mainland China to Hong Kong when plans materialize to connect
Shenzhen to Hong Kong by a bridge. Tourists visiting Hong Kong can then easily
cross to Shekou in th Shenzhen area to visit its’ attractions such as Sea World,
and as they call it, its “yacht” Minghua.
plan from the ship's cruise service as Ming Hua
More information about the ships current role as hotel and leisure centre can
be found on the web at:
Sea World/ Minghua website:
Sea World - Minghua photographs taken during my visit to
Shenzhen in 2010
Minghua "berthed" in Shekou se World, Shenzhen, China
Stairs leading from the main hall to the Captains Club Bar
Bar situated aft in the vessel
Note the panorama sized windows later added tot he vessel/ entrance to
Cruise Inn and one of the ships bars/ restaurants
Foyer when entering the hotel-part of the vessel, called the Cruise Inn,
it has a lovely aquarium fitted in the wall
Hall where one can take the elevator up to the staterooms
Main lobby Cruise Inn with shop, reception area and asian style bar
Hotel part Cruise Inn staterooms
Nice touch, sea shells in the floor.....
Behind the bridge, room with a maquette showing development plans of
Shenzhen, Shekou area
Outside on deck....
Former bridge, ship's wheel has gone, now office area, bridge wing and
view on ships bow
Fon Sun asian restaurant