Tag Archives: Clive Palmer

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.”

 

MacHighway - Web Hosting for Mac Users, by Mac Users, Since 1997

 

Farewell, 2014

640px-Pendleton_Sinking_Ship2014 was going to a be a big year for Titanic II. Clive Palmer wanted to bring back the glamor that was Titanic with a new ship based on the original design. He hired experts to do planning and testing. He set up a company called Blue Star Line that would be the new ship’s owner. And he made contact with a shipyard in China in the hopes it would be built there. And things seemed to hum along but things started going amiss along the way. The shipyard said no formal contract had been signed and even doubted they could do the job. Palmer started looking for investors in China to help shoulder the enormous construction cost. People in the cruise industry weighed in and wondered if such a ship could make money today. China began construction on its own Titanic, one that will be part of a theme park and designed to shake and rattle in the way the ship did during that fateful night when it sank. Clive Palmer got into a row with the Chinese over some business dealings. Unpleasant words were spoken and legal action began over royalties he claimed a Chinese company owed him. Despite assurances that ship construction would start late in 2014, nothing happened. And so it appears, unless things change, that Titanic II is kaput. If it gets resurrected, it likely will not be built in China. Perhaps an oil rich state in the Middle East?

Robert Ballard has moved on from Mystic Aquarium. His long term association with them has come to an end. Ballard decided to focus his energies on other projects. Mystic Aquarium has decided to open up a space by closing its Titanic exhibit which featured Ballard.

The Titanic Historical Society lost Ed Kamuda this year. A founder of that group and one of those who kept alive memory of the disaster. He lived to see Titanic get more widely known, its wreck found, and having annual get togethers with survivors and enthused amateurs. He and his wife Karen even got parts in Cameron’s Titanic as part of the many people walking on deck. His stance against salvage made him unpopular with some but no one ever said he did not like Titanic. He will be missed. RIP.

Titanic Belfast continues to grow strong. Visitors keep coming and recently exceeded 2 million. Quite a feat. Belfast, which had kind of downplayed Titanic, now embraces it. A whole commercial area called Titanic Quarter is getting shops, people, and businesses to live, work, and shop there. Aside from one snide comment from a television personality, most in Belfast seem happy with the tourism and new business.

Not one but two Titanic hotels are now in Liverpool. One is at the old White Star offices (Albion House) and the other at Stanley Dock.

The Silver Cup given to Captain Rostron of Carpathia was auctioned off  by his descendents.

A rare British Pathe film with Titanic footage and interviews was found quite by accident. A lucky one since it now has become a valuable part of Titanic history.

Titanic still gets used as a cliché for politicians, pundits, and news analysts. But it was Arianna Huffington who gets the top prize for using Emperor Nero, the burning of Rome, and Titanic all in one mashed up sentence. When you mix idioms and cliches together, no good ever comes of it.

Non-Titanic

Over at Undercover Boss, the owner of Bikinis Bar and Grill (a place I never heard of till I saw the episode), has gotten into some hot water over what happened during the reveal part of the show (where he reveals he is the boss). Now this guy, Doug Culler, is unabashed about what his restaurant chain is all about: breasts (and not chicken). At his place, women wear bikini tops, denim shorts, and cowboy boots. One gal decided not to wear her top for the camera, a major no-no for him. More serious is that she kept serving alcohol to a guy who was intoxicated. And where was the manager? Oh he eventually showed up to cut him off and safely home (strict liability these days means businesses can be held responsible if someone who gets intoxicated on your premises and causes damage or injury). The gal also said she was looking for other jobs. So at the reveal Doug canned her–in front of millions of viewers. While firing her may have been right, it ought not to have been done that way. And it might come back to haunt him. Trust me some attorney out there is going to make hay about it and perhaps a lawsuit. To make it more tacky, he offered another gal a boob job if she did her job well for the next couple of months. Sleazy? You bet it was. And it fired up lots of angry tweets as well. Congratulations Guller! You wanted attention and you got it. Considering that business has been mixed of late, this might turn off a lot more potential customers.

MasterChef Junior season 2 has ended with Logan, the bow-tied wonder winning it all. Congrats Logan! Now we are getting ready for season 3 on January 6. Not much of a break between seasons so the producers are wanting to strike hard and fast. But maybe they know something we do not: that the clock is ticking on this show so they want to maximize as much ratings and earnings potential as they can. They are up against both NCIS on CBS and it only loses ratings when in reruns. And it will be starting back up on the same night and time as Masterchef Junior. So which do you watch live or record? Kids making fancy dishes or an action series? If the previous numbers are an indication, NCIS will get more live eyeballs.

I like the movie The Santa Clause. I watched The Santa Clause 2 and about the only good thing about it are the home scenes and Elizabeth Mitchell. It was a really stunningly dumb idea to come up with a robot Santa. The elves are not little kids (most are older than Santa) and could easily understand why Santa had to be away for a while. So you have the ridiculous idea of a real bad Santa-one that reminds you of those leaders of an impoverished nation who wear spectacular military outfits to show who the boss is. In first movie Bernard could just materialize when he needed to visit Allen’s character back home. Which means he ought to have been able to quickly to do the same in this movie. Nope. Instead Curtis has to fly down (literally) using the jet pack from The Rocketeer to tell Santa what the bad Santa was up to. It gets worse so I will stop here. Stick with the original and skip part 2 and do not get me started on part 3. Yikes, now that is a really bad mess there and no amount of talent will save it.

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

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)


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)

MacHighway - Web Hosting for Mac Users, by Mac Users, Since 1997


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)


MacHighway - Web Hosting for Mac Users, by Mac Users, Since 1997