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)
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.
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.
The news report by Claire McNeilly indicated the new revised launch date was 2018 and that its maiden voyage had changed. Originally that was to be from Southampton to New York but now would be from China to Dubai. Blue Star Line said it was working with Dubai investors not to invest in the ship but in opportunities that will arise from Titanic II. Since that news report there has no news about the project. As far as anyone can tell, no contract to build has been signed and nor has any shipyard begun construction.
So imagine my surprise when going through the various Titanic related news stories to find this one from The Independent:
Except for the name of the writer, Matt Payton, the article is virtually identical to Belfast Telegraph one in September 2015, which is linked to in the story. One might think though this was a new story when in fact this is stale news. At least it filled up an empty space in the newspaper. And Blue Star is no doubt happy with the free publicity. People in the cruise ship trade though are doubtful it will ever be built. And it is matched by the quietness of the shipping yard in China where it is supposed to be built.
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?
1. Titanic II Ticket Demand Expected To Increase Cruise Ship News speculates that now the project is back on, that demand for tickets will begin again. “One thing we do know though, and that is the fact there will now be renewed demand for Titanic 2 ticket prices. Details of Titanic II tickets had already been shared, but not their prices. We do know that there will be first, second and third class like the original liner, and some people have been offering up to £640,000($987,216USD) so they can be the first to experience life aboard the Titanic 2.” They might want to wait until construction actually begins before offering substantial sums of money. There is still a lot of doubt this will get built.
Source: Titanic 2 Ticket Demand Renewed Following Latest Launch News(14 Sep 2015,Cruise Ship News)
2. Titanic Whistles Heard For The First Time Since 1912 At Luxor Titanic Exhibition
Back in 1912 recording media was very primitive so we have no idea what Titanic’s whistles sounded like. Now we have a pretty good idea. A set of Titanic’s whistles were recovered in 1993,cleaned and then X-rayed. The whistles are believed to been on the first funnel and could be used one last time. In 1999 using high-pressured air, the whistle tones were recorded. The whistle sound, two separate blasts of about eight seconds each, are heard by visitors to the Titanic exhibition at Luxor hotel in Las Vegas. A replica set of the whistles is on display as well (the original is at the Huntington Park, California exhibition).
Source:Whistles Give Voice To Tragedy At Luxor Titanic Exhibition(13 Sep 2015,Las Vegas Review Journal)
3. 30 Years!
On September 1, 1985, a joint expedition of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and French National Institute of Oceanography (IFREMER) located Titanic just a little after 1am. Lying over 12,400 feet down, it was a major success for Robert Ballard (WHOI) and Jean Louis Michel of IFREMER to finally locate the wreck. Using a new approach of using a deep towed sonar and video camera system, they were looking for debris rather than just one large object. They found the debris field and followed it to the wreck. It was a major achievement for both and brought worldwide attention. It answered some questions and raised more. Titanic did not sink in one piece but in two. Further explorations would learn there was no large gash but perhaps punctures caused by the iceberg grazing against it. The subsequent salvage would touch off a firestorm between Titanic historians and enthusiasts, a debate that still lingers to this day.
Source: 1985 Discovery of RMS Titanic(Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
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.”