Tag Archives: Titanic

Recent Titanic News

W.T.Stead 1881 Public Domain (Wikipedia)
W.T.Stead 1881
Public Domain (Wikipedia)

1.Memorial plaque to regional editor who died on Titanic vandalised(holdthefrontpage.co.uk,20 Sep 2016)
The plaque in memory of the Northern Echo editor WT Stead has been removed by Darlington Borough Council from outside the town’s library after it was daubed with felt-tip by vandals and is now being cleaned.

2.Just Cool Cars: This 1911 Benz has a Titanic link(USA Today, 17 Sep 2016)
Gerhard and Adrienne Schnuerer of Huntington Beach, Calif., are owners of this one-of-a-kind 1911 Benz, rare because of its German heritage and New York coachwork.The car was ordered by Charles Hayes, a railroad tycoon from Chicago who went down with the Titanic after she struck an iceberg. Part of his legacy becomes the car he left behind — although he never saw it. It was still being built when he died.

3.Keys From Titanic Among Items Auctioned By Jersey Collector(ITV,15 Sep 2016)
A set of keys from the Titanic, which were previously owned by a Jersey collector, has sold for twice the estimate at auction. David Gainsborough Roberts put the set of four up for auction at Christies in London. The keys, which are thought to have belonged to Samuel Ernest Hemming, the lamp trimmer on board the ship, sold for £20,000 yesterday evening.

HMHS Britannic seen during World War I. Image:public domain
HMHS Britannic seen during World War I.
Image:public domain

4. Exploring The Britannic Wreck, Titanic’s Sister Ship (Engineering and Technology, 12 Sep 2016)
To get around this huge wreck in the limited time – only 45 minutes – that the divers have at depth, they use underwater scooters. Even with rigorous safety measures in place, the sea is still unpredictable, especially at these depths. Britannic claimed the life of world-renowned technical diver Carl Spencer in 2013 and Kovacs says that it’s not uncommon to hear the explosions of illegal fishermen nearby.Kovacs’ holy grail for this wreck is a rivet-accurate blended acoustic and optical model of the entire exterior yielding a hugely accurate picture of the bulkheads. What this means in practice is a 3D volumetric model. The acoustic images have been taken with multibeam and side-scan sonar from the Perseo ROV and these will be overlaid with the optical results from the divers.

5.Titanic Floats While Some Sink At Annual United Way Cardboard Boat Race(Mlive.com,9 Sep 2016)
It was a replica of the most famous sinking ship in history. Made with cardboard and deliberately cracked at its center, the vessel defied its design and the notorious fate of its predecessor. It floated. “We can’t even sink the Titanic,” designer and builder Dave Turk said Friday as he loaded the too-successful boat into the back of a pickup truck at the close of the United Way’s cardboard boat race.

Titanic Wreck Gone In 14 Years Experts Say

Titanic Wreck Bow Image: Public Domain (NOAA-http://www.gc.noaa.gov/images/gcil/ATT00561.jpg)
Titanic Wreck Bow
Image: Public Domain (NOAA-http://www.gc.noaa.gov/images/gcil/ATT00561.jpg)

Titanic not only sank but now the wreck itself will be mostly gone in 14 years according to a scientific study. The study done by experts from Institut Laue-Langevin, the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry and the Institut de Biologie Structurale has determined “extremophile bacteria” will eat away the ship by 2030.
Source:Titanic wreck ‘will dissolve in 14 years’(Belfast Telegraph,9 Sep 16)

Southampton has a very strong connection to Titanic. Yet as a writer for Daily Echo points out, the city elders did not capitalize their connection as strongly as Belfast did. Titanic Belfast is a major tourist attraction for Belfast yet Southampton’s Sea City Museum only draws modest numbers. Sea City overlooks the area where Titanic docked but since the area is still a major working port, expansion is not as easy as Belfast had. Others agree more should be done to promote Southampton.
Source:Has Southampton missed the boat with Titanic museum? (Daily Echo,11 Sept 2016)

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)


Rare Titanic Postcard Turns Up In Charity Bookstore

Postcard of the Titanic found in a book donated to Books for Amnesty, 103 Gloucester Rd, Bristol UK Source: Bristol Post Date:  20/07/2016 Photographer: Michael Lloyd/Freelance Reporter: Lewis Pennock Copyright: Local World
Postcard of the Titanic found in a book donated to Books for Amnesty, 103 Gloucester Rd, Bristol UK
Source: Bristol Post
Date: 20/07/2016
Photographer: Michael Lloyd/Freelance
Reporter: Lewis Pennock
Copyright: Local World

Sometimes people forget to remove things from items before donating to charity. And such was the case when a rare Titanic postcard slipped out of a book donated to Books For Amnesty in Bristol, UK. The card, which shows Titanic docked in Southampton before its maiden voyage, is dated to 1912. And was done by a local photographer.

Colin Richardson, a volunteer at the store and has an interest in postcards himself, was astonished at the remarkable find. The card has been put up for sale on Ebay and could fetch close to £99 ($130).


Luxor Titanic Exhibit To Extend Showing of Rare Artifacts

Image:Premier Exhibitions
Image:Premier Exhibitions

Seven rare artifacts will have an extended stay at the Titanic exhibit at the Luxor Hotel & Casino until August 1, 2016. Those items are:

  • Declaration of Intention Form: 2nd class passenger Franz Pulbaum, a machinist originally from Germany, clearly intended to become a U.S. citizen upon his return to New York City. He had been on a business trip to Luna Park amusement park in Paris. The form would have been used to allow him a smooth disembarkation. Pulbaum’s signature and personal information is still legible on the naturalization form. Pulbaum never became a U.S. citizen, he went down with Titanic.
  • White Star Line Receipt for “One canary in Cage”: Recovered from Marion Meanwell’s alligator purse, this small receipt fragment appears to confirm that 3rd class passenger, Mrs. Meanwell (nee Mary Ann Ogden), a milliner from Eastbourne Sussex, England agreed to transport a relative’s canary from Southampton to Cherbourg. Additional information suggests that Chief Purser Hugh Walter McElroy took responsibility for the bird, while transport payment was provided by Mrs. Meanwell.
  • Cotton Pajamas: This pair of men’s pajamas is made of white cotton with blue stripes. No maker marks were found, they are a size medium with button shirt and drawstring bottoms. The deterioration around the neck and body appear to reflect normal wear and tear.
  • Pair of Gloves: This degraded pair of cotton gloves was originally white and probably belonged to a gentleman. They are still attached at the cuff, so they had not yet been worn. The gloves were recovered from a suitcase containing unmarked pajamas, jackets, and other clothing.
  • Waiter’s Pad Blank Page: Waiters from the exclusive à la carte restaurant on board would jot down lunch and dinner orders on pads such as this for the chefs to prepare in the galley. Unlike the First Class Dining Saloon, which cooked in larger quantities, the à la carte restaurant prepared each individual meal to order.
  • Pair of Socks: This is one of three pairs of cotton and silk socks recovered from a single suitcase. These were neatly folded by the owner for his Titanic journey. While the clothing in this passenger’s suitcase was of good quality, these socks have been darned in several places, showing a thrifty character as well.
  • Left Shoe: This men’s leather shoe fragment consists of the welt, top cap and partial quarter with the insole. Attesting to the meticulous care under which all artifacts are conserved, this shoe has never been previously exhibited due to its fragile condition.

After August 1 they are scheduled to return to the conservation facility where they will only be available to researchers.

Friday Titanic Tidbits

*Celine Dion is sporting a Titanic sweatshirt that is getting some media buzz. Commonly called a hoodie these days, this is not something to be found at your local big box retailer. The 80% cotton/20% polyester and made in Portugal will cost you $885 at Vetements.

*I knew it was going to happen someday. A proposed Chinese-American film will offer a “fresh take” on Titanic. And what will that be? Well according to China Film Insider the film plot will involve a conspiracy. No doubt it will weave in elements made popular by those who believe the Illuminati was involved, that Olympic and not Titanic was sunk for insurance money, or that a dastardly German plot using a submarine was involved. Or perhaps it will go the supernatural route. A cursed Egyptian mummy is brought aboard and escapes causing mayhem and death. Abbott and Costello could have had fun with that one.

Thomas Andrews, 1911 Public Domain-US
Thomas Andrews, 1911
Public Domain-US

*The former home of Thomas Andrews in Belfast, N.I. has been for some years been the home of the Irish Football Association. They have since moved their headquarters and put the property up for sale. According to Belfast Telegraph, it has been purchased by Action Cancer and will be used to treat women suffering from breast cancer.


Premier Exhibitions Update:U.S.Trustee Files Objection To Artifact Sale

PremierExhibitionslogoThe U.S. Trustee has filed an objection to Premier’s motion to sell artifacts from the French Collection. “The Sale Motion should be denied because it is not noticed to all required parties, does not include a description of sale procedures, does not describe the property to be sold, and, at least at this early stage in the case, does not meet the standard.”

Source: Premier Exhibitions Objection Filed(Bankrupt Company News,6 Jul 2016)


Titanic Tidbits

Summer is here so Titanic themed news tends to get thin.

RMS Olympic First Class Lounge (1912) Photo: Robert John Welch (1859-1936), official photographer for Harland & Wolff Public Domain
RMS Olympic First Class Lounge (1912)
Photo: Robert John Welch (1859-1936), official photographer for Harland & Wolff
Public Domain

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.

Titanic Musings

*Premier Exhibitions

Titanic Wreck Bow Image: Public Domain (NOAA-http://www.gc.noaa.gov/images/gcil/ATT00561.jpg)
Titanic Wreck Bow
Image: Public Domain (NOAA-http://www.gc.noaa.gov/images/gcil/ATT00561.jpg)

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_Logo_&_Wordmark.svgMasterChef 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.