Tag Archives: Clive Palmer

Titanic Tidbits and Musings

Summer is drawing to a close and schools are opening up. Sleepy eyed kids are getting on the local buses again to make the journey to school. It has been a quiet summer Titanic wise. Not a whole lot of news though some important news did occur.

United_States_Bankruptcy_Court_SealPremier Exhibitions Declares Bankruptcy To Reorganize
The big news before the summer began was Premier declaring bankruptcy under Chapter 11 and seeking to reorganize. Typically this means the company has enough resources to stay afloat and needs the courts to reduce its liabilities. For creditors it means they usually get something but not everything. It means the court has to take a hard look at how the company operates which means an intensive look at the financial records and other aspects of the company.

While things have not gone well for a while with Premier, it was thought the Dinoking merger and bringing aboard its ceo to manage would bring things in line. What apparently occurred is that the debts owed by Premier were far greater than the cash infusion the merger could solve. So to stave off likely lawsuits from creditors, they headed to bankruptcy court. Now one of the big arguments is over the French Collection. These artifacts were brought up with a joint expedition with IFREMER and are separate from the other artifacts covered under the U.S. Federal Court salvage award. That salvage award limits how the artifacts can be sold, specifically as one collection making it very difficult to find buyers due to the high cost. However Premier believed it had clear title to the French artifacts and wanted to sell some of them to pay off debts. And sought permission from the court to do this. It was denied, in part, because bankruptcy law requires an adversary action to remove any possible claims to items that will be sold or auctioned off to pay debts.

So Premier is suing the French government in federal court. Premier has submitted documents that appear to support their position. Meanwhile we wait on France to decide whether it will contest a possible sale or file a brief saying they will not fight it.

So Much For Palmer’s Titanic II
Well it appears to be over. After all the fanfare and some preliminary work, the Clive Palmer’s dream to recreate Titanic has come to an end. No one can blame him for wanting to bring it about. It is a great dream. Despite all the positive news spun out by his public relations team, financing the construction proved harder than realized. It was to be constructed in China but the date for the work start came and went, new dates were set, but the shipyard remained quiet. Then came news that once it was launched it would stop in Dubai. That raised speculation that investors from that area were keen on tying in their own Titanic themed areas with this new ship. And I speculated that perhaps money to build could come from there (or even be built there). But Palmer’s relations with the Chinese took a real nosedive with his criticisms of a Chinese company and the lack of Chinese investors in the project meant it would go nowhere. So without much fanfare and no publicity, construction of Clive Palmer’s Titanic II has ended.

Chinese Titanic II
Palmer’s version fizzled but China is building their Titanic II that will docked at a theme park. It will be full size and look exactly like the original. It will also be a hotel and tourist attraction. Visitors will be able to stay aboard, sample high-end late Edwardian age cuisine, and even visit the Titanic Sinking Simulator. That has caused a lot of controversy. Perhaps what will stun visitors from the West is that likely the message about Titanic will be strongly anti-capitalist and demonstrate why the Chinese way is more superior. Just do not mention their awful human rights record or persecution of those who practice religion of any kind.

Masterchef
The current season is interesting but has its usual combination of the excellent, the not-so-good, and those just filling a slot until they are dropped. Poor Nathan is the butt of so many jokes. The bow tied tuxedo salesman (and he always wears a suit even when outside at the farm) may be good at cooking dishes alone but has severe problems working in a team. Some of the good have made their mistakes and departed but perhaps none worse than Andrea. She showed really excellent skills but when she failed to bring her sausage dish down to the front table at the right time, it was bad. Worse was how Gordon and company handled it. At this point they knew she was out of the contest. Instead they go through the mockery of tasting the dishes of which the two useful facts were announced: that she (Andrea) had the best dish while Diamond served up raw sausage. In a normal competition, Diamond would go home. But that is reality and not the often strange world of Masterchef that live in an alternate universe.

They knew Andrea was out the moment she put her plate down three seconds too late. Gordon seemed to argue with Christina and Chef Lee about her having the best dish but Christina reminded rules are rules. Do not be fooled, that was all for show as none of it was for real. It was to make it look like there was some dispute when none existed. Diamond, a weak contender, went into the next round and would be sent home in the next episode. In a real contest, Andrea would have been sent home immediately for missing the time requirement. No need to bother with tasting the dishes and move on to the next round. It just shows the strange world that Masterchef inhabits.

Chinese Titanic Replica On Course;Belfast Titanic Celebrates A Milestone

The Grand Staircase of the RMS Olympic Photo:Public Domain (Wikipedia)
The Grand Staircase of the RMS Olympic
Photo:Public Domain (Wikipedia)

Clive Palmer’s plan to build Titanic II appears dead but a Chinese full size replica is on course to be built. According to China.org.cn a full size replica will be assembled at the end of this year. The replica will be the exact size of the original Titanic and will cost 1 billion yuan. Everything from door knobs to menus will look as if it was on the original Titanic (except some modern necessities as needed of course). The replica will also employ the use of a Titanic Sinking Simulator so that visitors will experience what it was like to be aboard when the ship was sinking. The replica will be permanently docked at a theme park in the Qi River in Daying County, Sichuan. It is scheduled to open in 2018.
Source:Life-Size Replica Of Titanic To Be Assembled Late This Year(China.org.cn,17 Aug 2016)

Titanic Belfast just celebrated its three millionth visitor recently. Since it opened in 2012, Titanic Belfast has seen a steady stream of tourists from all over the world. They recently had their busiest day when 4,200 people came through the doors beating down previous numbers. Titanic Belfast chief executive Tim Husbands notes “We have spent over £1m refurbishing and refreshing three or four of the galleries because obviously Titanic is a story that can be told in so many different facets.”
Source: Titanic Belfast Welcomes Its Three Millionth Visitor(Irish Times,15 Aug 2016)


Belfast Telegraph:Titanic II Has Run Aground

man-smoking-pipe
Just a pipe dream.

The hits just keep coming against Clive Palmer and the un-Titanic II. Belfast Telegraph reports that CSC Jinling Shipyard in China is now referring all comments about Titanic II to Blue Star Line. The Telegraph follows an earlier story in Daily Mail that Deltamarin was no longer working on the ship design and in fact had suspended work 18 months ago. According to the newspaper:

But although Mr Palmer spent millions on marketing his childhood dream project, including a lavish project launch on USS Intrepid in New York, documents just published by the administrators of a former Palmer company, Queensland Nickel, show that little or no money has been put into the development of Titanic II for over two years. Indeed, the only funds directed towards the project were for offsite storage and IT-related expenses. Last week, Mr Palmer said at a press conference he would have to ask his wife if he could pursue the project in retirement – a statement that suggested he was well aware Titanic II was now a mere pipe dream.

Source: Plans to build replica Titanic all at sea as Oz tycoon Clive Palmer gets cold feet (Belfast Telegraph, 10 May 2016)

Titanic II Update:Finnish Shipbuilder Reportedly Stops Work

Titanic Leaving Queenstown 11 April 1912. Believed to be the last photograph of ship before it sank. Public Domain
Titanic Leaving Queenstown 11 April 1912. Believed to be the last photograph of ship before it sank.
Public Domain

It has been a while since we have had a legitimate update about Clive Palmer’s Titanic II. A brief recap might be in order to remind everyone about this project. Amid great fanfare and lots of celebrity meals, Clive Palmer announced in 2012 that he was building a full size replica that would meet all present day safety standards. Firms were contracted for various aspects of planning, testing, and other needed things. Drawings were released and a Chinese shipbuilding firm was to be the its builder.

Then things went very quiet. Nothing was going on at the shipyard, Palmer tried getting Chinese investors aboard, and then he got into a row with the Chinese government. A new launch date of 2018 was announced, investors in Dubai showed interest in licensing Titanic for a major theme destination, and the maiden voyage was shifted from China to Dubai. And now here we are in May 2016 and no construction has yet taken place and no contract to build the ship has been signed. And now we learn from the Daily Mail that a Finnish company Deltamarin, contracted to design the new ship, ceased working with Blue Star back in 2014.

At this point we have no idea how far along Deltamarin was in designing the new ship. They may have done preliminary work and were waiting for Blue Star to commission full scale plans. If they did not commission them, it would be consistent with what we know so far. Palmer likely ran into trouble getting Chinese investors and his row with the Chinese government probably scuttled the ship being built there anyway. His only hope it would seem would be in Dubai these days but whether or not they want to commit to a full scale sailing replica is another matter. My guess is they might be more interested in the Titanic artifact collection that has yet to be sold and awaits a buyer. That would draw in lots of tourists but having a Titanic replica docked nearby could seal the deal. However they might decide to do it themselves without Palmer. Either way, the dream of Titanic II in 2018 looks quite remote at this point.

Source: Is Mining Billionaire Clive Palmer’s Titanic II Dream Under Water? Finnish Shipbuilder ‘Has Stopped Working On Plans’ To Design A Replica Of The Doomed Ocean Liner(Daily Mail,7 May 2016)


Keeping Titanic II Alive (Part II)

Titanic at Cobh Harbor, 11 April 1912 Public Domain (Cobh Heritage Centre, Cobh, Ireland)
Titanic at Cobh Harbor, 11 April 1912
Public Domain (Cobh Heritage Centre, Cobh, Ireland)

It is interesting what has happened since my original post on the subject. The reprinted stale news The Independent ran spread through the media. Newspapers, the major news networks, and a lot of blogs ran the story as if it were big news. It proves a theory about mass media today: they pretty much feed off each other and few bother to check the facts. It was amusing to read some of the write-ups. You could see that the editors/writers tried to find something different for their take on the story. At the end it was the same stale news from 2015.

This blog got a lot of hits thanks to jalopnik.com whose more skeptical approach to the story puts the more experienced mass media to shame. MoneyTalksNews has a similar skepticism about the Titanic II project. Krystal Steinmetz zeroes in on the key points and notes that the pictures zapping around the Internet are not the real ship but renderings from several years ago. She also adds (in addition to no construction going on at present) the following:

Plans for the ship could also be capsized by an investigation of Palmer. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission is investigating Palmer and the collapse of his company, Queensland Nickel. Palmer could face criminal charges over alleged use of aliases in company dealings and moving money from his failed business into his self-titled political party. The company owes creditors roughly $100 million.

As it stands now the only viable Titanic replica being built is the one being built by the Chinese themselves-for a theme park far away from the coast. This full replica will be permanently docked there (on water), have rooms for people to stay in, and is the infamous one since it will include a sinking simulator as well. So if you desiring to see a full Titanic replica, that is the only one that is actually being built.

Titanic Musings On 2015

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Did you hear that the new Star Wars movie has toppled James Cameron’s Titanic off the throne? Hard to miss it since the entertainment media reminds us with screeching headlines announcing this important fact. There are major rumblings in the Middle East, the Turkish prime minister sees Hitler’s leadership as a positive role model, Russia is getting nasty as well but as long as the new Star Wars movie topples Titanic, that is more important.

Down under Clive Palmer’s dream of Titanic II appears moribund. There is still nothing going on at the Chinese shipyard and no formal contract has been signed for its construction. We did learn that if and when it should launch its first stop from China is Dubai. And Dubai has a serious interest in Titanic thanks to developers wanting to make a movie theme park. China is doing better than Palmer in building their Titanic that will be permanently docked at a theme park. You can stay aboard and even experience what it was like as it sank thanks to a sinking simulator. Oh and you can, for a fee, learn what cremation is like first hand (sans the real heat of course). Palmer may not be moving forward with Titanic but the Chinese are.

Premier Exhibitions saw major changes in the past year. Revenues have been mostly flat overall but costs were taking a big chunk of change. One proposed merger deal fell through and recriminations are now headed to court over that. So they sought out Dinoking and its chairman to try and turn around the company. Also they would like to sell the Titanic artifact collection but the price is so astronomical that it is hard to see anyone putting up that money. And it comes with a big sticker shock in the form of permanent judicial oversight from the U.S. Federal Court in Virginia. My guess is that in the end it will either be sold to a government entity of some kind or a consortium either in the Middle East or China. China and Dubai would seem the logical choices and will not be surprised if Beijing steps in to acquire the collection.

Public Domain

Titanic exhibitions continue to draw large crowds wherever they appear. People are fascinated by the story. Belfast has certainly seen it become a big boost for tourism and business. Titanic Belfast continues to draw them in and recently the Nomadic was made part of the exhibition. The fully restored tender is as close to the real Titanic as we can get. It took a lot of dogged work to get it out of France and then even more work to properly restore it. People are so used to how quickly we can turn out things these days but old seafaring vessels require a lot of special work. You do not splash on a new coat of paint and call it a day. It takes hours of patient work to take out the rot and replace it with new material and replacement parts generally hand crafted. Not unlike San Francisco’s historic cable cars. The original factories have long ceased operation and San Francisco has to make all its replacement parts to keep the cars going up and down hills at about nine miles an hour.

Titanic though is steaming on. It sank in 1912 but is still quite alive and well in different forms. People are learning the real story, which is good because there are plenty of lessons from Titanic we can draw from. Pity is that historical forgetfulness often means those lessons are lost but they can be relearned.

Titanic II Update: Maiden Voyage Will Be From China To Dubai

Cruise Arabia & Africa reports that Clive Palmer’s Blue Star Line has
announced that Titanic II’s maiden voyage in 2018 will be from Jiangsu, China to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Blue Star has stated that the project is still on refuting rumors of its demise. Originally the maiden voyage was to be from Southampton to New York. James McDonald, the global marketing director of Blue Star Line says the change was due to seeking business partnerships in Dubai.

We are not looking for investment from Dubai, as it is a project we are
funding ourselves, but we have been in contact with a number of
companies based in the Emirates who are looking at utilising
opportunities that arises with the project. It is people looking to use
the opportunity of the trademark and licensing potential of the
project… We own the Titanic II name and trademark and people are
lining up to be part of it.

Not so long ago I reported of interest in Dubai in Titanic II and
speculated that since Palmer is not getting the Chinese investors he was hoping for, that he would seek out investors in UAE. Now so far they official line is that the ship will still be built in China but suppose
with all those “business partnerships” being formed in Dubai that the ship can be built there and cheaper than China? So far no official order has been placed with a Chinese shipyard, Palmer is involved in a serious row with the Chinese government, and a Titanic replica is already being built. And, just as a wild thought, suppose you could add in the Titanic Artifact collection to Dubai with Palmer’s Titanic II?

Source: Titanic II Is To Sail Maiden Voyage In 2018 From China To Dubai In The United Arab Emirates(26 Sep 2015,Cruise Arabia & Africa)


Titanic II Update: Will Be Built By 2018 Claims Palmer Spokesman

RMS Titanic ready for launch(1911) Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress, digital id#cph.3a27541)
RMS Titanic ready for launch(1911)
Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress, digital id#cph.3a27541)

Arabianbusiness.com is reporting that Titanic II will be launched in late 2018 according to a Palmer spokesman. The article points out that back in 2013 Palmer and Blue Star Line were involved in discussions with companies in the United Arab Emirates about Titanic II which included coming to Dubai for its maiden voyage. Could this signal perhaps a change in course (pun intended) about the ship construction? All the reporting so far is that Palmer has had real problems getting Chinese backers and his spat with the Chinese government made things look bleak. Add to it they are already building a Titanic replica for a theme park seems to go against it being built there.

How about Abu Dhabi? Italian shipbuilders Fincantieri expanded their shipyard in Abu Dhabi in 2012 to build more ships for the UAE navy. It is a joint venture with Etihad Ship Building (ESB). Now the Italian shipyard is focused on building naval vessels but what if the UAE wants Titanic II built there? Stay tuned folks. Of course this could just be puffery and Palmer is known for it. Then again he might have found investors there more eager to invest in Titanic II than in China.

Source: Exclusive: Plans For Titanic Replica Ship To Be Delayed Two Years(30 Aug 2015,Arabianbusiness.com)


Update on Chinese Titanic Sinking Simulator/Replica: Shipbuilder Assembling Parts

Photo courtesy George Behe
Photo courtesy George Behe

According to Ecns.com, Chinese government owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) is now building parts for the full Titanic replica. The replica will be the main attraction at Seven Star’s planned theme park in Daying where it will be permanently docked. It is scheduled to open in 2017. U.S. based designers are working with Seven Star to develop precise dimensions and layout. The replica will meet all current safety standards and is estimated to cost $161 million or 1 billion yuan. The sinking simulator apparently will be a separate simulation in the same theme park.

As for Clive Palmer’s Titanic replica, not a word.

Source: State-Run Shipbuilder Begins Assembling Parts For Full-Scale Titanic Replica(18 May 2015,Ecns.com)


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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