Chinese investors see the Varyag as a giant pleasure craft. To some military analysts, it's an aircraft carrier which would weight 67,000-tonnes when
complete. For many observers, it's a rusted heap of junk.
The mystery of the hapless Varyag begins here with the stream of conflicts.
Chinese officials examined the Varyag in 1992, but failed to agree with Ukraine on a price for use as an aircraft carrier.
A satellite image taken by the U.S. in 1995 showed that the ship's ammunition elevator was open to the elements, which may have further damaged
The Varyag was sold for US$20 million. That price is about three times the normal scrap price for similar large ships (1).
Portuguese officials in Macau refused permission for Chong Lot to anchor the huge ship off the enclave in 1998.
Macau was governed by Portugal for 442 years before it was returned to China in December 1999.
Macau's coastal waters are much too shallow for a carrier to be anchored.
Chong Lot's offices in Macau does not exist. Chong Lot is a subsidary of another firm based out of Hong Kong called Chinluck (Holding) Co. Ltd.
Directors of Chinluck, had ties to Chinese navy (2).
Chinluck (Holding) Co. Ltd. denied any People's Liberation Army involvement in the sale of the Varyag.
For several years, the Chinese navy has been attempting to obtain aircraft carrier technology, anxious to expand its naval power (3). China already
has obtained at least three other carriers for study. They are the Melbourne, Kiev and her sister ship Minsk (4).
Chinese military have used the flight deck of Melbourne as a training ground (5). Kiev and Minsk have been turned into floating amusement parks and
China preserved their names. Surprisingly, the Varyag (ex-Riga) was renamed to the Chinluck.
The Varyag was designed to carry the naval variant of the Sukhoi Su-27, a fighter the Chinese now produce under license.
Chinluck (Holding) Co. Ltd. accused Turkey of causing more than US$100 million in direct losses to their company by not giving passage permission
for the Varyag. Turkey had insisted the Varyag would pose too a great danger to Istanbul but gave the final go-ahead on November 2001.
China offered to send tourists to countries including Turkey (31,995 Chinese arrived in Turkey in 2002), Greece and Singapore who have allowed the
passage of the Varyag. On the other hand China offered to send tourists to Egypt who doesn't let Varyag pass through the Suez Canal.
Chinluck (Holding) Co. Ltd. does not have anything for public, moreover Chinluck does not have a web site.
Macau dealt out three new gaming licenses on February 08, 2002. 21 companies, among them many of the world's top gaming firms, submitted bids for
the licenses last November. Chinluck was not among bidders.
The purchase and towing of the Varyag has cost about US$30 million, probably making it too expensive for use as an entertainment centre.
A recent look through the Hong Kong Yellow Pages shows that a new firm is added to Hotel & Motel Management pages with the name of Chinluck
International Hotel Mgt Ltd. (removed)
The Varyag is now moored under high security in a Chinese naval base Dalian after a towage lasted 627 days.