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 interior.
- The Varyag was sold for US$20 million. That price is about three times the normal scrap price for similar large ships.
- 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.
- 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. China already has obtained at least three other carriers for study. They are the Melbourne, Kiev and her sister ship Minsk.
- Chinese military have used the flight deck of Melbourne as a training ground. 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 two million tourists to Turkey (31,995 Chinese arrived in Turkey in 2002) who has 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 in November 2001. 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.
- Chinluck International Hotel Mgt Ltd. was listed under Hotel & Motel Management category of Hong Kong Yellow Pages for a short time in 2002.
- The Varyag was moored under high security in a Chinese naval base Dalian for three years after a towage lasted 627 days.
- In May 2005, the Varyag was placed in dry dock and, in early August, it emerged painted in PLAN gray.
- Also in 2005, Chinese delegation visited the Neveskoye PKB shipbuilding bureau, designer of the Kuznetsov, and the Ukrainian shipyard that built the Varyag.
- Recent images of the Varyag show that the PLAN (People's Liberation Army Navy) has re-grinded the surface of the vessel.
- The Chinese have built a land based replica of the Varyag the Wuhan Naval Research Institute at Yanliang [Janliang] Airfield, which is China's main aviation test facility. As of early 2008 a variant of the Su-27 was being flight tested at this facility.