THE Dubai owners of Southampton’s former liner, Queen Elizabeth 2, have reacted to reports that the world-famous ship could eventually be scrapped because of the global financial crisis.

Despite still not revealing any detailed plans for the ship, owners Nakheel say that the scheme is “ongoing’’ and that they are “investigating all options’’.

Suggestions, circulating within the shipping industry and on numerous maritime sites on the Internet, that the plans for QE2’s transformation into a floating hotel and tourist attraction could be sunk by the effects of the international credit crunch, have been dismissed by Nakheel.

A spokesman for the company said: “The plans for QE2’s full restoration and refurbishment are ongoing as we continue to investigate all our options in leveraging this fantastic asset. We have no intention of selling the ship to any party whatsoever.”

QE2 has been moored at a berth in Dubai for three months after arriving during November last year. As yet, Nakheel has not announced any firm details of the planned redevelopment.

Concerns over the future of QE2 intensified at the end of last year when Nakheel, the main developer in the ambitious masterplan to turn Dubai into a global tourist destination, announced that it was scaling back work on some of its projects and also making 15 per cent of the workforce, a total of 500 employees, redundant.