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.
1. The entertainment media is all aflutter telling of a mini-reunion of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DeCaprio at the Golden Globes. At least they are not reminding us for the 1000th time the new Star Wars movie has smashed Titanic’s box office record.
2. Can one describe a school bus flooded as akin to Titanic? It appears so. The United Kingdom has suffered from tremendous rain of late causing all kinds of problems. Now there is a certain rule when driving in areas where water is pretty well concentrated: you avoid it. Cars are not water proofed (a select few are but they are special custom jobs or military)so trying to drive through a deep pond of water on the road will certainly not bode well. Usually the driver gets stranded and a tow truck has to pull your car out. Now you would think a school bus driver with a bus full of kids would want to avoid driving in areas that have already been marked to avoid by authorities. School authorities in North Yorkshire are perplexed and investigating why a school bus with 26 children aboard was driven on a closed road where it ended up in a ditch and began filling with water. A young girl told Sky News “like the Titanic.” Water began pouring into the bus and kids had to kick windows to get out. Sky News also reports the driver was warned by the kids not to take that road.
“It started floating and then it capsized into a ditch, and before it capsized loads of water gushed through,” she said. It was pretty much like the Titanic – it was going.”
Not the kind of things parents want to hear about their kids day at school. None of the kids were injured and either went home or continued on to school via other means.
Source:Flooded School Bus Sank ‘Like The Titanic’(Sky News,5 Jan 2016)
3. Just checked the Blue Star website for any new information about Titanic II. Nothing found.
4. Premier Exhibitions is trying to be more transparent these days. In the past shareholders had complained that management was less than forthcoming about company operations, the proposed sale of Titanic collection, and other things. If recent filings are an indication, the new management is taking a different approach. They are trying to let investors know the company is going to be better managed and trying to increase revenues. Also they are looking into opportunities in Asia and in particular Macau.
Source:Premier Exhibitions Inc. Announces Corporate Update(Globe NewsWire,8 Jan 2016-press release)
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?
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.
[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.]
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.”
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.
[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.
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.
The Australian is reporting that nothing has been done in the construction of Titanic II. Shipbuilding was supposed to have started by now. The newspaper reports that no deal has been signed with CSC Jinling, the Chinese shipyard despite Clive Palmer claiming the deal was “imminent.” No steel has been cut in preparation for its construction. The newspaper further reports the Chinese are not interested in building the ship. Considering how big Titanic is in China, that seems odd indeed. Palmer apparently thought the Chinese would be excited about the project but apparently that has not been the case. It could be that they do want to build Titanic II but would rather do it themselves rather than with Clive Palmer.
The marketing director is quoted as saying the keel will be laid “in the third quarter of this year.” Officially the Chinese company says while it would be difficult to build, they could do it. Palmer might have to consider another shipyard that would be more enthusiastic than the Chinese one. If I were making odds on this ship being constructed, I would bet against it at this time. Palmer really whipped up a lot of excitement but without a signed contract that starts construction, it looks like the skeptics were right, that this was just a publicity stunt. And he has wasted a lot of time and effort because of it.