Historic floating restaurant in Marseille sinks

MARSEILLE (AFP) - A famous floating restaurant aboard a 1920s schooner in the French city of Marseille sank on Wednesday in the historic Vieux Port area after its pump stopped working, firefighters said.

The three-masted Le Marseillois, where celebrities such as Tom Cruise and George Clooney ate, sank about 30 minutes after an employee first sounded the alarm early in the morning.

"The pump in the hold which works around-the-clock to empty water had broken down," a fire department spokesman said.

Around 25 firefighters and divers were deployed to try and save the boat - a star attraction in the southern city's old port.

Built in Valencia in Spain, the vessel was used for trading but abandoned after it became obsolete in the middle of the 20th century.

It was then bought with funds raised by Marseille residents keen to preserve old vessels, and anchored off the port in 1977.

The boat was turned into a restaurant at the start of the 1990s.