Summer is here so Titanic themed news tends to get thin.
1. William Barrows, ship steward aboard Titanic, wrote a short note to his sister Mary about Titanic. He had landed the job as steward in the ship’s First Class Lounge. His note indicates he was happy to be aboard although he would need a better fitting waiting jacket in the future. He signed off the letter with “Love & best wishes to all, Your affectionate brother Will. Place all laundry and things in middle draw in the chest of drawers in my room.” In many ways, it tells more about the loss of life than some of the books out there. The letter and other items associated with it are up for auction at Adam Partridge Auctioneers in Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK.
Source:Poignant Titanic letter written by doomed crewman reveals his ‘excitement’ at joining ship(Daily Mirror,26 June 2016)
2. The Irish News recently reported that “The wreck of the Titanic could be put up for sale after the company that owns it went bust.” Call Douglas Wooley! He is the chap who claims he actually owns the wreck (and probably does) and believes the U.S court has no jurisdiction over his property. Actually what might be auctioned off are items from the French Collection outside the salvage award in the U.S. court. Might want to do better fact checking next time.
Source: Titanic wreck could be sold(Irish News,29 June 2016)
3. Billy Zane believes his character Cal had found redemption at the end and that Rose would have been with him. Should keep a lot of fans up late at night texting about that.
4. Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition opened at the Portland Science Center in Maine. No word yet on the numbers but one expects it will draw a considerable number of people to it. The exhibition will likely run until the Fall (no firm date given for its end).
5. Being summer outdoor grilling becomes a common occurrence. Just like deep frying turkey for Thanksgiving, there are safety rules to follow. A video from the National Fire Protection Association covers much of what you need to know.
Of course if you need some help on grilling the perfect burger, here is a video featuring Alton Brown from the Food Network.
It is funny how things end up. Back in 1987 George Tulloch and G. Michael Harris formed a partnership to recover Titanic artifacts. They partnered with Ifremer, the French Research Institute for Exploration of the Sea (which was also partnered with Ballard in his Titanic expedition). The company that was formally established was called RMS Titanic Inc and conducted numerous dives to bring up artifacts. Needless to say many were not happy with this. It caused major splits in the Titanic community with angry confrontations on the Internet and major gatherings. The company though went through all the necessary legal steps to claim, under maritime law in a U.S. Federal Court, that they had the right to do what they did. And the court found they did in the end. The artifacts were brought up, restored, and put on exhibition. It is the only way to see genuine Titanic artifacts.
But in 1999 Tulloch was ousted in a hostile takeover. The company would begin to move in other directions by deciding to become an exhibition company. In 2004 it changed its name to Premier Exhibitions. It also began the highly controversial Bodies exhibition (it is controversial because many claim the bodies from China are from their prisons). Other exhibitions would be added as well. Yet something was amiss. Here was a company with a prize possession, Titanic artifacts, and other well liked exhibitions. And it was losing money. Why?
Interest in exhibitions can wax and wane but Titanic was certainly a draw. Belfast shows how true this is. Belfast Titanic has done pretty well and the city is happy with the revenues it has generated. From what is publicly known, it seems Premier probably signed unwise expensive leases but that cannot be the whole story. The merger with Dinoking was meant to bolster the bottom line and hopefully restore confidence. And infuse money into the company to get it back on its feet. Now it is in bankruptcy court to get protection from its creditors and reorganize.
Perhaps the best thing about this is that it will require the books to be opened for inspection. This way one can find out how the company is run. It might turn out that the company was not run well, the appropriate checks and balances not followed, and revenues decreased by undisclosed expenses that were never reported to shareholders. Whatever the case, the shareholders ought to be incensed and demand oversight of this process is truly independent.
*Summer means MasterChef/Hotel Hell
MasterChef has lost two of its original members: Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot. Joe left two seasons ago and was replaced by Christina Tosi. Graham left at the end of last season and no replacement has been made. Instead they will have a rotating series of well-known chefs such as Wolfgang Puck visiting from time-to-time. Will it work? Well Wolfgang was certainly interesting. Puck was only there for the Mystery Box challenge and not for the elimination. Why? Would you not want his expertise there as well? Meanwhile on Hotel Hell, Ramsay continues his tour of American by stopping at hotels in dire need of his extreme criticism. I have little sympathy for the owners of these places complaining about Ramsay. There is a lot of stuff out there about how he does things and his previous outings are well documented. So when someone complains Gordon or his production staff purposefully left stained duvets for him to find, I am usually do not find it credible. Especially when it is clear that they are never going to follow much of his advice anyway. And the dolt that runs the hotel in Chelan decided once the lights and cameras were off to jettison much of what Gordon suggested. Reminds of me the experience Gordon had at Black Oyster.
*Call of the Wild
I got some criticism about the raccoon posting. My point was education. Far too many people think, thanks to anthropomorphism of nature, that it is safe to approach them like a domesticated pet. As that video showed, feeding a wild raccoon is neither safe nor wise. People get killed or maimed by wild animals because they forget this simple fact of nature: they are not human. Never forget that. Respect nature and do not think that cute mother bear wants you to approach and take photos of its cubs.
Some interesting facts from Lillian Rizzo’s blog entry at Wall Street Journal on the Titanic bankruptcy filing:
1. Premier owes owes $12 million to unsecured creditors.
2. The company states that just the sale of four artifacts from the French Collection could fetch $10 million or more at auction.
3. The money raised from the sale would be used to pay off creditors,help the shareholders and keep the company afloat.
In a recent report to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), Premier Exhibitions reported:
“On June 20, 2016, the Company filed a number of motions in the Bankruptcy Court. Among the motions filed was a motion seeking permission to sell a portion of the Titanic artifacts awarded to the Company pursuant to a 1993 French administrative decree, which are from time to time referred to as the 1987 Artifacts in Company filings. At this time the Company does not know when the Bankruptcy Court will rule on this motion, and does not know the likely outcome of the motion.”
Since those artifacts are not part of the salvage award decision in the U.S., those stringent conditions imposed for sale do not apply here.
Before the news broke about the bankruptcy filing, the stock was trading at 51¢ but at the close of trading yesterday fell 27% to land finally at 37¢. The value of the stock is getting slimmer by the day.
When I graduated from 8th grade back in the stone age, there was no dance. There was a ceremony to mark the occasion and not much else as I recall. Some places though go the extra step and have a dance for the graduating eighth graders as they head off to four years of high school. The graduating eighth graders of Canyon Lake Middle in Canyon, CA had a memorable dance. When the arrived at the schools multipurpose room they found it had been transformed into Titanic.
“They found the room transformed into the ship’s grand ballroom, with a projection of the grand staircase on stage, creating an upper class and steerage, along with sets that included a special entrance, a wooden gangplank and the nose of the Titanic for photo ops.”
From all accounts it went well. No word if anyone put in an appearance as Jack and Rose.
Stock charts are boring to look at unless it is a company you are invested in. And those who have invested in Premier Exhibitions, which owns RMS Titanic Inc and Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition, have to be wondering whether the company is going to survive. Over at FranklinIndependent.com, they took a look at the stock performance and had this to say:
If the $0.45 price target is reached, the company will be worth $270,600 less. Double bottoms are rare but powerful chart patterns. The stock is down 23.31% or $0.152 after the news, hitting $0.5 per share. About 12,100 shares traded hands or 206.25% up from the average. Premier Exhibitions, Inc. (OTCMKTS:PRXI) has declined 40.37% since October 22, 2015 and is downtrending. It has underperformed by 42.63% the S&P500.
Yikes. The market is not liking Premier Exhibitions right now and I bet a lot of shareholders who have seen their stock value drop are not happy either. Patience will not last long for the new company president if they do not see their stocks going up in value soon. Usually it means lawsuits and lawyers with accountants rummaging through documents.
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.
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.