Category Archives: Titanic II

Titanic II Update: Nothing Going On At Shipyard

[Update: Some people are encountering a problem reading The Australian article. Apparently in some cases it is requiring you to subscribe first to be able to view. You can read an alternative article here at news.com.au.]

Photo:Ian L(publicdomainpictures.net)
Photo:Ian L(publicdomainpictures.net)

The Australian is reporting that nothing is going on at the CSC Jinling shipyard in Nanjing, China to indicate any construction is taking place. According to the newspaper:

Dozens of workers at the shipyard said they had been informed of the Titanic II plans, but the project was yet to be given the formal go-ahead. “That ship was just a proposal. It’s never been carried out and the project has never launched,” one worker, Mr Wang, said.

Last year Blue Star Line signed a memorandum of understanding with AVIC Kaixin Beijing Ship Industry to help raise awareness of the project and secure investors. No report if that has come to anything tangible. Palmer has his own troubles with China. He is currently locked in a dispute with a Chinese company over royalties and said some unkind words about the Chinese government that made it worse.

People around the shipyard are disappointed. A large project like that means lots of workers  which help local businesses get a piece of the action.

 “They said the Titanic project would bring in big investment and the shipyard would have to employ more people but people have stopped talking about it and there is even suggestions the ship yard is going to move.”

As Captain Kirk would say about now, “Scotty, beam me up.”

 

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Titanic II: Cruise Ship News Says It’s Not Going To Happen

Photo:Benjamin J MacDonald
Photo:Benjamin J MacDonald

Cruise Ship News notes that by this date things were supposed to be in motion. Excitement had been generated that a second Titanic would be built. Money had been spent on testing models and contracts with various vendors to the outfitting of the ship were done. You had Clive Palmer doing Titanic themed meals around the world with the rich and famous. Ah but now it is all quiet on the Titanic 2 construction. No keel has been laid, no contract has been signed to formally build the ship. Clive Palmer has had a falling out with his Chinese partners and in litigation with Citic Pacific.

The most optimistic appraisal is that things are stalled but realists will say the chances of this ship being built went from probable, down to maybe, and now unlikely. Maybe Palmer ought to contact Premier Exhibitions about buying the Titanic artifact collection, which is still up for sale and no bidders at this time. At least that will not require a Chinese company to build a ship for you.

Source: Titanic 2 Tickets Should’ve Been Available By Now(30 Sep 2014,Cruise Ship News)


Titanic II: Clive Palmer’s Rant Another Ding Against It Being Built (In China)

Shenwumen Gate, Forbidden City, Beijing Photo:Kallgan (Wikipedia)
Shenwumen Gate, Forbidden City, Beijing
Photo:Kallgan (Wikipedia)

Clive Palmer took the airwaves recently saying unkind things about the Chinese. He called the Chinese government “bastards” setting off a firestorm of criticism for his tirade. His remarks were condemned by the Australian prime minister and of course the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He sent a written letter of apology to Chinese ambassador in which he states:

“I regret any hurt or anguish such comments may have caused any party and I look forward to greater understanding for peace and cooperation in the future.”

He explained later that his comments were directed at a Chinese company, CITIC Pacific, which he is locked in a legal fight concerning cost overruns and royalties involving the Sino Iron project in Western Australia. That project is a major investment for the Chinese company which until recently was state owned (CITIC Group was acquired by Hong Kong based CITIC Pacific and will begin publicly trading under that name). As such the former state owned company will be subject to stricter rules and disclosure requirements. But many in the financial community are not sure, despite this change, it will really result in major changes. Foreign directors may or may not be involved and the CITIC chairman has said that they are not necessary.

Palmer also said of CITIC in the Sino Iron project in western Australia that it was a “small horse pulling a big cart.” That cart is bigger now. It may be officially and legally a Hong Kong corporation but no one believes it is independent of government control. Beijing calls the shots behind the scenes and Palmer knows that. And even if he had just said it about CITIC, they would still be upset that he attacked a Chinese company. At any rate, it just makes building of Titanic II even more remote unless, as I noted before, he goes to Beijing and performs the kowtow.

Sources:
1.Australian Billionaire Politician Apologizes For TV Tirade Over China(25 Aug 2014,Reuters)
2.New Name, Old Questions for China’s Citic (28 Aug, MoneyBeat Blog, Wall Street Journal)


Friday Musings

Hobbies are great things to have. They help us from being bored and sitting around the television or the computer all day. Traditional ones like stamp or coin collecting sometimes lead to bigger things. Or in the case of John Siggins of the UK to turn a shed into a replica of Titanic’s dining room. Siggins, who works as as railroad engineer, has been working on this project for many years. It began when he got a blanket once owned by a Titanic survivor given when boarding Carpathia. That started him acquiring items from Titanic’s sister ship Olympic. And then slowly converting his shed into a dining room and cabin. He has been doing this for 25 years. Done by hand, he has put up wood panels, chairs, and collected dining sets to make it look authentic. “It’s history. I buy it all because it’s close to my heart. And this is how I want to see it.” And from the picture in the news article, well worth the effort.

Mike Arkus writing in the Huffington Post details a recent visit to Halifax. Halifax has a rich maritime history and of course connected deeply to the Cunard line (Samuel Cunard was born there). His article jabs at the touristy nature of Halifax but does have lots of interesting places to visit. Of course visiting Fairview Cemetery is where many Titanic victims are buried. And the once unknown child now has a name: Sidney Leslie Goodwin.

When you own stocks like Premier Exhibitions (NASDAQ:PRXI), it does not take much to send the stock down. Latest news was not great so the stock tumbled to 73 cents. A year ago it was $1.69. But declining revenues and uncertainty about when the Titanic collection will ever be sold has done its work. Today it actually bounced up to 76 cents before settling back down to closing at 74 cents. I hope no one put their pension money in this stock.

We are under water restrictions here and just about everywhere in California. More dire if you live on Catalina Island, where water is really precious. They have a small desalinization plant that provides only a small fraction of their needs, which comes from two reservoirs that are now looking quite grim. Tourists flock to the island but now restaurants and hotels have to tell customers not to take long showers. Ask for water with your meal and it comes bottled. To conserve water many places are using plastic ware for everyday eating. And hotels now have to start sending laundry to the mainland, which is not cheap.

Lawns are looking bleak these days except if it is a city park or owned by government. Most people have to cut back watering to one or two days a week. Neighbors are being asked to snitch on neighbors who are watering too much. Being green is not so good these days and a green lawn brings attention. Unless it is artificial which some in my area have chosen to do. Quite a lot have simply taken out the greenery and replaced them with rock gardens, wood chips, or drought resistant plants. And a byproduct of this drought is that many areas look more dirtier than usual. Sidewalks in front of homes are not being washed off as before. The city still does power washing certain areas like the downtown area (they and all cities got an exemption from the water restrictions). BART still power washes on Saturday mornings around the San Bruno station.

To close out this Friday Musings, here is a music video from Susanna Hoffs off her November Sun album. Fans of Hoffs will be surprised at how good she looks. Sorry guys, but she has been married to Jay Roach since 1993 and has two boys. The other lady in the video is also the lovely and talented Rosanna Arquette. Have a nice Friday everyone.


Blue Star Line: Titanic II in 2018

[Correction 21 July 2014-In my haste in writing this up I noted “it seems they let people continue to believe might be launched this year all the while covering themselves in this release.” Of course it will not be launched this year but what has been put off is the date the keel will be laid. It was supposed to be done early this year, then switched to Fall 2014. However no formal contract has been signed or reported as signed with the Chinese company that will build Titanic II. So that date is subject to change.]

Governments often try to avoid public notice of something that will cause a stir by burying it inside a large document or give a brief mention of it seemingly as a routine matter in some filing. Blue Star Line has tried this approach, according to the Australian newspaper Courier Mail, by briefly mentioning in the last paragraph of a release that was issued way back in May. The press release is from 9 May 2014 and its subject line is “BLUE STAR LINE SIGNS TITANIC II MOU WITH AVIC AND DELTAMARIN”

Nearly the entire release is about how this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will enhance Blue Star’s ability to get sponsors to help finance Titanic II. Sounds pretty boiler plate until you get to the very last line:

Titanic II is scheduled to be launched from its construction base in China in 2018, before her maiden passenger voyage retracing its original journey from Southampton to New York.

I have to admit being duped on this. I did not read the full release as close as I ought to have. I did a write up on the MOU but did not notice that little line at the end. And nor did anyone else but, if I recall correctly, Blue Star did not point people to it either. Instead it seems they let people continue to believe might be launched this year all the while covering themselves in this release.

Of course it might be moot if the dispute between Palmer and the Chinese government remains unresolved.

Sources:
1. Clive Palmer’s Blue Star Line Has Quietly Readjusted The Launch Date For Titanic II To 2018 (21 Jul 2014,Courier Mail)

2. Press Release:Blue Star Line Signs Titanic II MOU With AVIC And Deltamarin (9 May 2014, Blue Star Line)

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Monday Musings

monday*The dog days of summer are nearly here and nothing new about Titanic II. My last posting reported the Chinese government and Clive Palmer locking horns over money. They accuse him of misusing (or possibly embezzling) their money and he is demanding royalty fees. Looks grim right now for Titanic II being built in China. Perhaps somewhere like Dubai might be next on the list as a candidate to build it.

*James Cameron’s Titanic is now streaming on Netflix (US). Kitchen Nightmares (US) seasons 1-3 are gone from Netflix but they now have seasons 4 and 5. They have the UK version as well.

*Speaking of Kitchen Nightmares (US), it is finished. This last season was a rushed on Fox. They put episodes back to back so it went very quickly. The successful UK program was ended a few years ago as well. Many consider the UK version to be superior. The UK version has Gordon doing the narration and going to restaurants in trouble. While he gets in the faces of bad chefs and stubborn owners, the conflict seen on most US episodes is not there. The US not only has the usual problems with chefs and owners but lots of internal strife as well resulting in some rather volatile episodes. Many accuse the producers of hyping conflict, which might be true. It is also likely some purposefully manufactured the conflicts to get Ramsay’s producers interested. What cannot be faked though is the bad food and poor sanitary conditions that he finds. Many of the restaurants closed after Ramsay visited them. But to call it a “Ramsay Curse” would be inaccurate. All of the restaurants he visits are on the ropes and losing money. Calling in Ramsay is the equivalent of calling in the fire brigade to save a burning house. Ramsay often does offer solutions and way out but, alas, he does not control other things.

Like lenders, lien holders, angry vendors, debt collectors, and government agencies to name a few. Even if a business can start making money again, the debt can be too high with interest and fees. In some cases, like Black Pearl, the minute Ramsay walked out went back to what they did before (and as Ramsay predicted closed within a year). Some have survived and are still open. Some closed a few years later due to the economy or other reasons. Ramsay tries to point them towards quality food served at modest prices to make money. Shortcuts are not allowed. Frozen meatballs are never as good as fresh. And microwaves are used only to heat sauces not to cook meals. Ramsay appears focused on Masterchef, Hells Kitchen, and Hotel Hell.

*Speaking of Hell’s Kitchen, there was high drama in the last episode. Joy decided, in the middle of service, she could not take it anymore and left. Ramsay could not believe she was doing this and tried to force her to rethink the move. But up to the dorm she went after tearing off the black jacket she had earned and began packing. Andie (who along with James assists Ramsay) tried talking to her and getting her to reconsider. She seemed almost ready to go back and apologize but ended up sitting down too long to think about it. Time went on, the service was done, and she did not go back. So she was out. Gordon had seen much promise in her but her actions showed she was not ready to run a kitchen. Jason was stunned as were the others she walked out. But it was her choice and she now has to live with it.

*When the name Walter Lord comes up, invariably people think about his two Titanic books (A Night To Remember and The Night Lives On) but he wrote many other historical books as well. He wrote about the Battle of Midway (Incredible Victory) and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 Dec 1941 (Day of Infamy). Both are good books and worth reading if you have the time. His narrative style puts you right there and learning a lot as you read. Some of his accounts, especially of the Pearl Harbor attack, are riveting. Check your local library to see if they have his books.

*Titanic often comes up in surprising ways. Consider the following from the British comedy Are You Being Served?, episode titled Our Figures Are Slipping:

Rumbold: I sometimes regard our whole organization as a ship at sea. Captain Peacock is at the helm, keeping his eyes skimmed. I am in the engine room making sure we all are going full steam ahead. And you men are the crew.

Lucas: What’s it called–the Titanic?

Have a good day or evening where ever you may be.


Titanic II Update: Troubled Waters

 Photo:JamesAlan1986 (Wikipedia)
The Chinese appear to have closed the door on Clive Palmer
Photo:JamesAlan1986 (Wikipedia)

Cruise Ship News is reporting that while Palmer has gotten a lot of preliminary things done, progress on ship construction has been stalled. The keel was supposed to be laid in March 2014 but now has been pushed to September. The ship is still planned to be completed in 2016, but another problem has emerged namely that Palmer is not in good standing with the leaders in Beijing. According to the Courier Mail,Palmer’s search for Chinese sponsors is now nearly impossible. The Chinese owned company CITIC Pacific has accused Palmer’s company Mineralogy “of siphoning $12m from it to help fund the 2013 Palmer United Party election campaign.” In short, Palmer took money from the Chinese government. The Chinese government has not filed a formal complaint but Palmer, through his spokesman, denies the allegations.

However it means should he land on Chinese soil, they might detain him. Which means making it very problematic to build Titanic II in China if the government believes you stole money from them. Palmer is also involved in litigation against CITIC over royalties he claims owed to him. Add it up and one can not see a favorable climate in China for this ship being built there at this time. If he wants their money to invest in energy projects and Titanic II, he will have to practice the kowtow before that will occur.

Sources:
1. Progress Of Titanic 2 Ship Two Years On(27 June 2014,Cruise Ship News)
2. Clive Palmer’s Blunt Manner Of Saying What He Thinks Does Not Translate Well From Australia To China. Is The Politician Billionaire’s Mouth Getting Him In Trouble?(31 May 2014, Courier Mail)


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Titanic II Update:More Positive News About Its Construction

Perhaps Clive Palmer Should See If Titanic II Has Good Fortune Photo: MU (Wikipedia)
Perhaps Clive Palmer Should See If Titanic II Has Good Fortune.
Photo: MU (Wikipedia)

Cruise Ship News recently reported the following:

Titanic II construction has been set back by 2 years.
Titanic II will now launch in 2018.
Steel cutting has yet to start, part of the reason for delay.
Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has signed Memorandum of Understanding with Blue Star Line to promote ship together and help get sponsors in China.

Not mentioned or reported is whether any formal contract has been signed yet with the Chinese shipyard that will build Titanic II. Many are still skeptical about that coming to pass.

Source:Titanic 2 Ship News Reignited In Asia(12 May 2014, Cruise Ship News)


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Titanic II Update: Clive Palmer Says It Will Be Built

White Star Flag Image:Yar(Wikimedia)
White Star Flag
Image:Yar(Wikimedia)
Clive Palmer is disputing claims Titanic II is stalled according to Sunshine Coast Daily. It has been recently reported that construction was stalled, no contract had been signed, and the Chinese were not as enthusiastic as Palmer had hoped. The attacks, Palmer now says, are politically motivated. He points out they just finished tank testing and that they have signed a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese group. Palmer points out that it took seven years to design Titanic and that they are ordering stuff for the ship. He also said the keel will be laid in the third quarter this year.

However Palmer is no longer committed to an exact date for the first voyage, which initially was to be in 2016.

If online polls are to be believed, most do not believe it will be built. Vegas odds makers are not taking bets at this time on Titanic II construction.

Source: Clive’s Titanic Not Sunk Yet(31 Mar 2014,Sunshine Coast Daily)


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Titanic News For April Fool’s Day 2014

film reel1. Those who use the Netflix streaming service will be happy to learn that Cameron’s Titanic will be available. Also coming via streaming are A League Of Their Own, Fox Network’s House, and B0b’s Burgers(season 3), see Lindsay Lohan before she became a hot mess in Mean Girls, those wanting a Scottish adventure will have Braveheart to watch. Saturday Night Live fans may recall the Coneheads movie and Robin Williams made everyone wary of boardgames in Jumanji. If you have been hankering to see the Rocky movies, fear no more as Rocky 1-5 are now streaming. For those who like horror gag movies, Scary Movie 3 is on. And just in time for Easter, The Bible: The Epic Miniseries is available.
Source: From House to Titanic: A Viewer’s Guide to the New Additions to Netflix(31 Mar 2014,E! Online)

2. Have you wondered about dogs on Titanic and what happened to them? The Smithsonian has compiled a guide about those 12 dogs. In The Definitive Guide to the Dogs on the Titanic , small dogs survived while the bigger ones perished. They were kept in kennels on F Deck and looked after by the ship’s carpenter. They got exercise, food, and a bathroom break. And there was a dog show planned but that never occurred. The dogs were let out at some point and were seen running about as the ship sank. There was no truth to oft-told tale that First Officer Murdoch’s dog was on a lifeboat and alerted Carpathia to the lifeboats by barking.
Source:The Definitive Guide to the Dogs on the Titanic(31 Mar 2014, Smithsonianmag.com)

3. Although doubts have been raised about a new Titanic being built by Clive Palmer, there are hopeful signs it may yet come to pass. There was a little noticed passage in a Asia Times about discussions to construct a cruise ship based on a historic, well known ship. No name was mentioned but some speculate it might be Titanic. Considering the source was within the Chinese government, speculation is that perhaps they will want to help fund this new ship to demonstrate how world class China has become in the 21st century.
Source: Chinese Government Considering Cruise Ship Business(1 April 2014, Asia Times)

Warning! Titanic Cliche Ahead
Warning! Titanic Cliche Ahead

4. Titanic Cliche Alert:Reshuffling Cabinet=Rearranging Deck Chairs on Titanic
In the wake of losing power in local elections, French President Francois Hollande has named a new prime minister and now says (after supporting higher taxes) he wants to lower taxes and worker contributions. Rainbow Murray,associate professor at Queen Mary University of London, says “I think it’s really rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic. Until they sort the economy out, nothing else is going to fix the major reason why the French are so unhappy with the government.” And if you have to fall back on this old tired cliché to make a point about French politics, you need to re-read Shakespeare for tips on how to better use wit to make your point.
Source: Hollande confirms Valls as PM, stands by pro-business pact(31 Mar 2014, CNBC/Reuters)


 

 

Item#3 above is the fake story. April Fools!