Will there really be a Titanic II ???
(see Dec 2016 update at bottom of page)
There could never be an "exact" replica of Titanic built. A close resemblance is possible but an early 20th century ship today would be obsolete and not feasible in the 21st century; both from a safety standpoint as well as a legal standpoint. If an exact replica were built, it's doubtful that very many people would book passage on it. We're talking about a vessel with a riveted hull as compared to a welded hull which would offer a good possibility of a repeat of the 1912 disaster. A vessel that has no air conditioning and only offers toilets in upscale cabins. In the other cabin classes you would have to share the toilet with other passengers. Forget about TV/movies in your cabin, or Wi-Fi, Internet access. And cell phones? Nope, those modern amenities didn't exist in 1912 and wouldn't be operational on an exact replica. People wouldn't go for that.
And the big question; would people book passage and feel safe on a large ship with no modernized navigational capabilities? No radar, no sonar, no GPS satellite links, no computers relaying up-to-the minute weather information and a vessel that solely relied on communications with the outside world utilizing 106 year old radio technology such as a 300-500 mile range Marconi radio using Morse code which no one uses anymore. With almost twice the shipping traffic, and using 1912 navigational technology, a trip on this vessel would more than likely result in tragedy once again, on its maiden voyage.
An exact Titanic replica means using steam engines with coal for fuel. The cost would be outrageous requiring coal delivery at dockside, coal trimmers, coal stokers, greasers, oilers, boiler room workers; over twice the workers in the engine room then you would find today in a modern turbo-electric diesel powered vessel. What would you do with the coal ash and slag? In the 1900's coal ash was dumped at sea around the clock during the voyage? With current international maritime laws you cannot simply dump hazardous materials overboard as was common practice in the 1900's. The labor and fuel costs involved to operate a vessel of that size with coal fired steam engines would certainly be reflected in the passenger ticket fee's which would price the entire venture right out of the market.
It goes with saying that no country in the world would register a vessel without lifeboat capacity for all souls on board as happened in 1912. In fact, new legislature in almost every seafaring country was introduced and implemented shortly after the Titanic disaster. The International Ice Patrol was formed and provided ice reports twice a day, lifeboat requirements were changed and updated, and all passenger vessels were required to have distress rockets as well as 24-hour a day licensed radio operators on duty.
On February 12, 2016, US television networks, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN evening news broadcasts once again announced a Titanic II coming with a 2018 launch date. (pushed back from 2016) The world has been hearing of Titanic replica plans since 1998, 3 years after Dr. Robert Ballard's discovery of the wreck site. Each venture (6 in all) failed for one reason or another, the most common reason being, yep, you guessed it, lack of funds. Before any investment group sinks money into a venture, they will have to feel comfortable that they're going to get a return and a profit, obviously.
Will it work this time? Will people flock to book passage on this new and modernized version of Titanic? Will it turn a profit? Let's look at the company who's claiming to put this in the works.
This latest venture is being spearheaded by an Australian shipping company called Blue Star Line. According to their website, bluestarline.com.au, "Titanic II has captured the world’s imagination since Professor Palmer announced that his shipping company, Blue Star Line, would recreate the famous ship in honor of the 100 year anniversary of the launch and untimely fate of The Titanic. While every bit as luxurious as her namesake, Titanic II will have every modern amenity along with 21st century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems."
The most recent media releases showing on the Blue Star Line website are from 2013, and the website itself appears to have been updated last in 2015.
The original Blue Star Line was formed as by the Vestey Brothers, a Liverpool-based meat/butcher company, who had founded the Union Cold Storage Company utilizing refrigeration practices. They developed a large import business, shipping frozen meat from South America to Britain, initially from Argentina on ships of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, and other shipping lines that called at South American ports.
A second (and separate) Blue Star Line, is currently owned by Australian billionaire, Clive Palmer. He amassed his wealth through iron ore, nickel and coal interests, as well as multiple high-end golf courses and resort properties. One of his resort properties contains over 100 animatronic dinosaurs with the purpose of creating a simulated Jurassic Park atmosphere. Palmer's net worth was estimated by Forbes magazine in January of 2014 at $550 million. (USD) The Australian financial publication, Business Review Weekly, or BRW, estimated his wealth at $1.22 billion in June of 2014.
Blue Star Line owner, Clive Palmer
In April of 2012, Palmer announced that he had signed a memorandum of understanding with CSC Jinling Shipyard in China to construct a replica of RMS Titanic, calling it Titanic II. The ship was supposed to be built in China and set sail in late 2018, pushed back from an originally announced 2016 launch date. It was reported in October of 2016 no keel has been laid and some claim there is no sign of the project moving forward.
Palmer refuses to give any previews of the ships plans or photographs of construction. All that Blue Star Line provides on it's website are colorized versions of original Titanic and Olympic photo's and animated drawings, some curiously similar to animated drawings from Titanic game software.
As of this writing (January 2017)
When the project was first announced in 2012, Palmer claimed that construction would begin before the end of the year, with a 2016 launch. The following year reports emerged that Clive Palmer was experiencing serious financial difficulties and construction was postponed to March 2014, then to late 2014. When construction had still not begun in 2015 a spokesman for Palmer said the project had merely been delayed, and that the Titanic II would be launched in 2018, two years later than initially planned.
However, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation announced that work on the Titanic II project had been halted and the proposed Chinese shipbuilders were stating that the project has not moved beyond the proposal stage. It's been reported that the Blue Star Line trademark was "abandoned". Queensland Nickel went bankrupt and Palmer faced freezing of personal assets to recoup money owed the company's employees and creditors. He has recently stated that he might resume work on the project in his retirement. Which more than likely means it's not going to happen.
As of January 2017 there is no known signed contract with any shipyard to build a Titanic II.
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