R.M.S Titanic was not the first nor the only liner that had a rather unfortunate destiny and found a home at the depths of an ocean, but sure is the most popular wreck that history has recorded. The unsinkable ship of dreams is the world’s most romanticized wreck, its tale has captivated the world since it struck an iceberg in the Atlantic 104 years ago.
The concept of building an exact replica of the iconic liner has been on and off for years, especially after James Cameron’s blockbuster in 1997.
However, among those who remain still fascinated by the ill-fated ship is the Australian bilioner and mining tycoon Clive Palmer who announced recently the exact replica of Titanic entitled Titanic II to set sail in 2018.
“The new Titanic will, of course, have modern evacuation procedures, satellite controls, digital navigation and radar systems and all those things you’d expect on a 21st-century ship,” James McDonald, the global marketing director of Palmer’s Blue Star Line, told the Belfast Telegraph.
Clive Palmer first announced the project in a press conference on 30 April 2012, following the signature of a memorandum of understanding with state-owned Chinese shipyard CSC Jinling ten days before. On 19 June, it was announced that Finnish naval architecture firm Deltamarin Ltd. had been commissioned to undertake the design of the ship, and on 17 July a preliminary general arrangement was published.
In October 2012, Blue Star Lines announced that Titanic expert Steve Hall had been appointed as Design Consultant and Historian for the project, and that Titanic interiors expert Daniel Klistorner had been appointed as Interior Design Consultant and Historian.Hall and Klistorner had previously co-authored books such as Titanic: The Ship Magnificent and Titanic in Photographs and gave a technical presentation at the unveiling of the designs in New York, as well as at the dinner in London.Later that month, it was announced that an advisory board would be formed to provide “suggestions and recommendations to Blue Star Line to ensure the Titanic II appropriately and respectfully pays homage to Titanic, her crew and passengers.” Terry Ismay, the great-great nephew of White Star Line chairman and Titanic survivor J. Bruce Ismay will be a member of the board, as well as Helen Benziger, great granddaughter of Titanic survivor Margaret ‘Molly’ Brown.
The ship is designed to be as similar in internal and external appearance to the Titanic as possible. However, today’s safety regulations and economic considerations dictated several major changes to the design, including: Greater beam for enhanced stability, welded, not riveted, hull, reduced draught (draft), a bulbous bow for higher fuel efficiency, although moderately sized compared to ships of newer designs.
For economic reasons, the steam engines and coal-fired boilers of the original Titanic were replaced with a modern diesel-electric propulsion system. The space which housed the boilers would have been used for crew quarters and ships systems. Power was to be produced by four Wärtsilä 46F medium-speed four-stroke diesel generating sets; two twelve-cylinder 12V46F engines producing 14,400 kilowatts (19,300 hp) each, and two eight-cylinder 8L46F engines producing 9,600 kilowatts (12,900 hp) each, running on heavy fuel oil and marine gas oil.Propulsion would have been by three azimuth thrusters which would also be used for maneuvering, while the replica of the rudder of the Titanic II is purely cosmetic, and would not have extended substantially below the waterline. The positioning of the azimuth thrusters necessitated the stern being made substantially more blunt than the original.
The interior of the ship was intended to be as similar as possible to the original. Tillberg Design of Sweden was contracted to produce drawings replicating Titanic’s original interiors. However, the original wooden panelling does not conform to modern fire regulations, so as in Queen Mary 2, veneers would have had to be used. Plans showed a layout broadly similar to the original, but with the third-class cabins modernised, and consideration being given to en-suite cabins throughout the ship.The room freed up by eliminating the steam boilers of the original ship would have been used for crew quarters and various services.
Clive Palmer has been described as an ‘eccentric billionaire’ with a reputation for bizarre publicity stunts, such as the attempt to create a massive Jurassic Park-style dinosaur theme park at his golf resort.It has also been noted that the publicity surrounding the Titanic II coincided with Palmer’s announcement of his entry into Australian federal politics, which was made immediately following the Titanic II conference.Palmer had previously claimed that he was the target of a conspiracy involving Barack Obama, the CIA, the Rockefeller Foundation and Greenpeace, who he believed were attempting to close down his mining operation.In 2010, Palmer started a company called Zeppelin International, with the intention of making a commercially viable Zeppelin. After the plan came to nothing, it was ridiculed as the ‘bizarre move of the year’ by Australian business website Smart company. He has gained a reputation in Australia for floating ambitious and unusual business ideas which he fails to see through, and the Titanic II has been described as ‘a classic Clive Palmer announcement’.
The idea of a commercialised replica of the Titanic has itself been criticised, being described as “insensitive” and “a mockery of the memory of those who died”. Cunard Line, which merged with the White Star Line, stated that they “have always been very mindful and very respectful of such a tragic event [and] don’t think that building a replica or a ‘II’ is appropriate.”
So, we just have to be patient and see what will happen in 2018, but in case the Titanic II really hits the high sea, we are sure of one thing, every second passenger will recreate “I am king of the world” scene, wanna bet?
Original Photos of R.M.S Titanic found at : Ultimate Titanic
Photos of Replica Titanic II courtesy of : Titanic II