North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered the demolition of a bizarre 1980s floating hotel which was first moored at the Great Barrier Reef before making its way to Vietnam A world first in 1988, the seven-storey Four Seasons Barrier Reef, was decked out with 200 rooms, a nightclub, bars, a tennis court and was anchored using state-of-the-art oil rigging technology around 40 miles off the coast of Australia But the ‘floatel’ was only open for a year before it was sold to a Vietnamese corporation and moved to Ho Chi Minh City where it was moored on the Saigon River From 1989, it became a booming nightspot in the city, referred to as ‘the floater,’ before it ran into financial difficulties and was sold to Hyundai Asan in 1997 The South Korean arm of the Hyundai conglomerate was developing the Mount Kumgang tourist resort in North Korea, where South Koreans could visit the secretive country under tight security regulations   The hotel during its hey-day: The floating hotel was the brainchild of Doug Tarca, a salvage and survey diver throughout the 1950s, who fell in love with the Great Barrier Reef – it was built in 1988 in Singapore A hotel guest sits by the pool of the Floating Hotel, as it was re-branded in downtown Ho Chi Minh City on the banks of the Saigon River, there it became known as ‘the floater’ and was a popular nightspot A world first in 1988 the seven-storey Four Seasons Barrier Reef, was decked out with 200 rooms, a nightclub, bars, a tennis court and was anchored using state-of-the-art oil rigging technology around 40 miles off the coast of AustraliaIt was known as Hotel Haegumgang and sat in port at the resort which was seen as a symbol of North-South cooperation and which hundreds of thousands of Southerners would visit However in 2008, southern tours were suddenly halted after the shooting of a female tourist by a North Korean sentry  Three years later, all of the remaining Southern officials were kicked off the resort and South Korean assets were seized by the regime  This week, North Korea’s state news agency announced that Kim had vowed to destroy all traces of the South’s development of the resort and the North would begin its own constructions anew  The floating hotel was the brainchild of Doug Tarca, a salvage and survey diver throughout the 1950s, who fell in love with the Great Barrier Reef, Messy Nessy reported North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, visits the Diamond Mountain resort in Kumgang, North Korea Kim ordered the destruction of South Korean-made hotels, including the old Great Barrier Reef hotel  Belinda O’Connor who worked on a water taxi driving guests to and from the hotel told ABC: ‘I remember so many amazing days living on the hotel, fishing trips, crew parties, diving under the hotel, having pizzas flown out by chopper ‘ the £10million hotel was completed in Singapore and Tarca’s design was towed over 3,000 miles to the reef (pictured: the dining room and bar during its Vietnam days) RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Australian warship is urgently deployed to waters off the Donald Trump claims Barack Obama tried to call Kim Jong Un. 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Share this article Share The 1980s-style dining room of the hotel during its Vietnam days – the original plans for the hotel were hugely criticised by environmentalists who said its six moorings to John Brewer reef would damage marine lifeHis original idea was to have three boats anchored to the reef and roped together, but by chance he was introduced to a Swedish company which built floating dormitories for oil rigs  The plans for the hotel were hugely criticised by environmentalists who said its six moorings to John Brewer reef would damage marine life  Nevertheless, the £10million hotel was completed in Singapore and Tarca’s design was towed over 3,000 miles to the reef, ABC reported Belinda O’Connor who worked on a water taxi driving guests to and from the hotel told ABC: ‘I remember so many amazing days living on the hotel, fishing trips, crew parties, diving under the hotel, having pizzas flown out by chopper ‘Robert de Jong, managing curator at the Maritime Museum of Townsville, told Stuff: ‘There are floating hotels in other parts of the world now but not moored in the middle of nowhere People say, you looked out the window and saw sea and more sea.’  However, poor weather including dangerous cyclones dented business and the hotel went to its new home in Vietnam   The opulent night club within the hotel as it was in 1988 – Robert de Jong, managing curator at the Maritime Museum of Townsville, said: ‘There are floating hotels in other parts of the world now but not moored in the middle of nowhere People say, you looked out the window and saw sea and more sea’ The hotel was ideally placed for tourists to snorkel and take in the magnificent Great Barrier Reef Sun loungers surround the hotel’s pool when it was moored on the banks of the Saigon River in Ho Chi Minh City from 1989 to 1997In Vietnam it was packed during the night with people partying during the post-war boom in tourism But when it went to North Korea, experts said it never really took off and sources who visited the Mount Kumgang resort claimed it was empty and rusting  On Wednesday, North Korea’s propaganda machine reported that all of the South Korean hotels at the resort would be destroyed, apparently because Seoul won’t defy international sanctions and resume South Korean tours at the site Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said Kim had found the resort facilities to be ‘shabby’ and lacking national character On Wednesday, North Korea’s propaganda machine reported that all of the South Korean hotels at the resort would be destroyed, apparently because Seoul won’t defy international sanctions and resume South Korean tours at the site (pictured: the hotel at its opening in 1988) A pair of guests relax on sun loungers at the hotel in 1988 before it was moved thousands of miles away to Vietnam It was eventually sold and taken to Vietnam where it was moored on the banks of the Saigon River (pictured)The report said Kim criticized North Korea’s policies pushed under his late father as too dependent on the South and vowed that the North would redevelop the site on its own   ‘(Kim) said that the buildings are just a hotchpotch with no national character at all, and that they were built like makeshift tents in a disaster-stricken area or isolation wards,’ the agency said ‘He made a sharp criticism of the very wrong, dependent policy of the predecessors who were going to rely on others when the country was not strong enough ‘ 

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Dennis Veasley

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