Titanic II Takes the Next Step

| Tuesday, 19 Jun. 2012

Australian Billionaire Clive Palmer says he has completed the next step in his plan to build a replica of the original Titanic, by enlisting professional ship design company Deltamarin (formerly of Denmark, now Australian) to review the proposed ship's plans for compliance with safety and construction regulations.

Palmer hopes to begin construction of the vessel at the end of 2013 and to begin service with regular transatlantic crossings in 2016. Palmer said the ship will be a "regular feature" on the transatlantic route between the U.K. and New York City. The Aussie mining magnate first announced his plans last April. Now he says the response to his announcement has been overwhelming with over 20,000 people showing an interest in being on the first voyage.

The current plans for Titanic II come in at 40,000 gross tons, relatively small by modern standards, and even slightly smaller than the original Titanic at 46,000-tons. This means Palmer's ship is only about one-quarter the size of the only other vessel currently offering semi-regular trans-Atlantic crossings, Cunard's Queen Mary 2 at nearly 150,000 gross tons. In 2013 Queen Mary 2 will offer seven-day transatlantic crossings about eight months of the calendar year - after the three-month world cruise starting in January.

For the construction of Titanic II Palmer plans to use the CSC Jinling Shipyard in China. Currently, no modern vessels serving the western cruise market were built in China, although some Princess ships were constructed in Japan. The vast majority of modern cruise ships in service for the Western world are built in Europe; Italy, France, Germany or Finland.

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Palmer created the company, Blue Star Line, for operation of the proposed vessel. The original Titanic was built in Belfast, Ireland by the White Star Line of Britain in 1912. That company was eventually folded into Cunard Lines in the 1940s. Cunard still uses the trademark "White Star Service".

"Titanic II will be a regular feature on the transatlantic route between the UK and USA," Palmer said. "This magnificent vessel is being constructed in memory of the heroic people who served on the first ship, as well as the passengers who sadly shared their fate.We also want to recognise the artists and artisans whose skill, creativity and dexterity has never been fully recognised because of the ship's limited service."

Blue Star Line has laid down design criteria to make the ship as similar to the original Titanic as possible according to Palmer. When asked if Titanic II could sink in his original April announcement, he replied, "Of course it will sink if you put a hole in it." But he added that the ship "will be designed so it won't sink. It will be designed as a modern ship with all the technology to ensure that doesn't happen. But, of course, if you are superstitious like you are, you never know what could happen."

"Titanic II will be the ultimate in comfort and luxury with on-board gymnasiums and swimming pools, libraries, high class restaurants and luxury cabins," Palmer said last April. "It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic but of course it will have state-of-the-art 21st-century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems."

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Modernizing the Titanic

Titanic II will have 840 staterooms and nine decks. The main changes will be below the water line. The new ship will do away with the famous rivets cited as the cause of the original ship buckling under pressure. The new ship will have a bulbous bow for greater fuel efficiency and bow thrusters. It will be propelled by modern diesel engines rather than the original coal-based boilers.

When the original Titanic was commissioned by the White Star Line it was the world's largest liner, measuring nearly 882 feet long, 175 feet high, 92 feet wide and 46,328 gross tons. It could accommodate 739 First Class passengers, 674 in Second Class and 1,026 in Third Class - about 2400 guests all together. Palmer has not yet revealed whether he will remain true to the original class system of the original ship - but notably no modern cruise ship has the strict class systems of the original Titanic. Modern vessels generally give every passenger run of the entire ship, with the exception of a few ships (including Queen Mary 2) where a top tier of passengers still share the rest of the ship with the larger retinue but usually have one small restaurant and one lounge with some accompanying deck space set aside for their private access.

The cost of the Titanic II project has not yet been revealed, and a company spokesperson said he doubts it will ever be revealed. Notably, when Micky Arison, CEO of the holding company for the Queen Mary 2, heard about billionaire Palmer's plans he tweeted, "Apparently he has ambitions of becoming a millionaire!" Micky Arison is also a billionaire on the Forbes list of the 100 Richest People in America.

Clive Palmer also owns the Coolum Golf and Spa Resort on Australia's Sunshine Coast and the Robina Woods and Colonial golf course on the Gold Coast, but his fortune was made mining gold in Australia. Mr Palmer has invited the Chinese navy to escort Titanic II from China to the United Kingdom where the ship will then re-trace the intended route of the original ship.

Does the plan for Titanic II appeal to you? Tell us in our forums.

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