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3D rendering of Titanic II
|Owner:||Blue Star Line|
|Route:||Southampton to New York City|
|Builder:||CSC Jinling, Nanjing|
|Status:||In project development stage|
|Class & type:||Olympic-class ocean liner (replica)|
|Tonnage:||56,000 GT (estimate)|
|Length:||269.15 m (883 ft 0 in)|
|Beam:||32.2 m (105 ft 8 in)|
|Draught:||7.5 m (24 ft 7 in)|
|Propulsion:||Diesel-electric with three azimuth thrusters|
|Speed:||24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph) (maximum)|
Titanic II is a planned ocean liner, to be built as a replica of the Olympic-class RMS Titanic. The project was announced by Australian billionaire Clive Palmer in April 2012, as the flagship of his cruise company Blue Star Line. The intended launch date is set in 2016, 104 years after the original voyage,  and the ship will set sail from Southampton to New York within the same year.
The concept of a replica of the Titanic has been explored several times, especially following the resurgence of interest following the release of the film Titanic in 1997. The most widely publicised project was that of South African businessman Sarel Gous.
The South African project began in 1998, and was one of the subjects of an article in Popular Mechanics magazine in September of that year. The article discussed the changes to the original design required to produce a safe and economically viable ship, including a welded rather than riveted hull, diesel-electric propulsion in place of steam engines, and a bulbous bow. The article concluded that although the various Titanic revival projects would cost $400–$600 million, they could be economically viable.
Although he originally intended to construct the ship in Durban, Gous presented his £500 million proposal to Belfast City Council in June 2000. He commissioned Olsen Designs to design the ship, advised by Harland and Wolff Technical Services who produced a feasibility study, and Callcott Anderson to design the interior. In November 2000, he began his attempts to raise capital, including through government grants and a stock market flotation. After signing an agreement with a Monaco-based investment banking company, Gous claimed that construction would begin at Harland and Wolff within nine months. The design changed repeatedly, with claims emerging of 'the world's largest liner' with capacity for 2,600 passengers, and increasingly divergent plans for a heliport, swimming pools and discos eventually being released. In 2006, after repeatedly failing to secure investment, the project was abandoned.
Clive Palmer first announced the project in a press conference on 30 April 2012, following the signature of a memorandum of understanding with state-owned Chinese shipyard CSC Jinling ten days before. On 19 June, it was announced that Finnish naval architecture firm Deltamarin had been commissioned to undertake the design of the ship, and on 17 July a preliminary general arrangement was published.
In October 2012, Blue Star Lines announced that Titanic expert Steve Hall had been appointed as Design Consultant and Historian for the project, and that Titanic interiors expert Daniel Klistorner had been appointed as Interior Design Consultant and Historian. Hall and Klistorner had previously co-authored books such as Titanic: The Ship Magnificent and Titanic in Photographs, and gave a technical presentation at the unveiling of the designs in New York, as well as at the dinner in London. Later that month, it was announced that an advisory board would be formed to provide "suggestions and recommendations to Blue Star Line to ensure the Titanic II appropriately and respectfully pays homage to Titanic, her crew and passengers." Terry Ismay, the great-great nephew of White Star Line chairman and Titanic survivor Joseph Ismay will be a member of the board, as well as Helen Benziger, great-granddaughter of Titanic survivor Margaret 'Molly' Brown.
The design for the Titanic II was unveiled at worldwide launch events in Macau (China), New York (United States), Halifax (Canada), London & Southampton (United Kingdom). The gala event in New York was the official Global Launch and was held aboard the USS Intrepid in New York City on 26 February 2013. The gala dinner in London (UK) was held at the Natural History Museum on 2 March, which was accompanied by a display of items salvaged from the Titanic, as well as in Southampton on 13 March.
On 16 April it was announced that Deltamarin had been contracted for the project development phase, and will be responsible for coordinating the various parties involved in the project, including the shipyard, architects, interior designers and operations managers. The feasibility study is complete, and the project development phase is ongoing. The signature of a contract and keel laying is expected later in 2013.
Design and construction
Comparison with the original Titanic
The ship is being designed to be as similar in internal and external appearance to the Titanic as possible. However, modern safety regulations and economic considerations will dictate several major changes to the design, including:
- Greater beam for enhanced stability
- Welded, not riveted, hull
- Reduced draught
- Bulbous bow for higher fuel efficiency, although moderately sized compared to modern ships
- Stabilisers to reduce roll
- Diesel engines driving azimuth thrusters to replace the original coal-fired steam engines
- An additional 'safety deck' between C and D decks for modern lifeboats and marine evacuation systems, with the boat deck housing replicas of the original lifeboats. Space for the deck has been made by lowering decks D and below by 2.8 meters, and for the taller centre section of the safety deck, which houses the lifeboats, by raising the superstructure by 1.3 meters. In spite of the reduced draft, space has been made for the lowered decks by removing the orlop deck, which mainly housed the boilers.
- New 'escape staircases' in addition to the original staircases, housed in the redundant boiler exhaust uptakes.
- Viewing decks in the redundant first two funnels.
- No sheer or camber, unlike the original. Pronounced sheer was a cosmetic feature of ocean liners, intended to add a graceful appearance to the ship, but made construction more difficult and therefore costly. Renderings released in February 2013 show an upwards rake added to C Deck at the bow and stern to give a superficial appearance of sheer, although an inauthentic wedge-shaped gap has had to be added between C and D decks in these areas to produce this effect.
- A higher bridge relative to the bow, as the superstructure has been raised by 1.3 meters by the centre section of the safety deck, and also by the removal of the sheer. This negates the requirement on the original Titanic for lookouts.
- An overall increase in the height of the ship.
Power plant and propulsion
The steam engines and coal-fired boilers of the original Titanic have been replaced with a modern diesel-electric propulsion system. The space which housed the boilers will be used for crew quarters and ships systems. Power will be produced by four Wärtsilä 46F medium-speed four-stroke diesel generating sets; two twelve-cylinder 12V46F engines producing 14,400 kilowatts (19,300 hp) each, and two eight-cylinder 8L46F engines producing 9,600 kilowatts (12,900 hp) each, running on heavy fuel oil and marine gas oil. Propulsion will be by three azimuth thrusters which will also be used for manoeuvring, while the replica of the rudder of the Titanic is purely cosmetic, and will not extend substantially below the waterline. The positioning of the azipods has necessitated the stern being made substantially more blunt than the original.
The interior of the ship is intended to be as similar as possible to the original. However, the original wooden panelling does not conform to modern fire regulations, so as in RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, veneers will have to be used. Plans show a layout broadly similar to the original, but with the third-class cabins modernised, and consideration being given to en-suite cabins throughout the ship. The room freed up by eliminating the steam boilers of the original ship will be used for crew quarters and various services.
If built, the Titanic II would represent the first major passenger vessel constructed in China, a country with much more experience of building cargo ships than cruise ships, and a significant investment would be required to ensure it meets the much more stringent safety requirements for passenger vessels.
The Chinese state-owned CSC Jinling shipyard has never built a large passenger vessel. In addition, it has no drydock, instead using side launching from a 200m slipway. The 269m Titanic II would be the largest side-launched vessel in history by a huge margin, and would require a significant extension to the shipyard's facilities.
Representatives from the shipyard have questioned whether the ship can be completed by 2016, and emphasize that no contract has yet been signed.
Clive Palmer has been described as an 'eccentric billionare' with a reputation for bizarre publicity stunts, such as the attempt to create a massive Jurassic Park style dinosaur theme park at his golf resort. It has also been noted that the publicity surrounding the Titanic II coincided with Palmer's announcement of his entry into Australian federal politics, which was made immediately following the Titanic II conference. Palmer had previously claimed that he was the target of a conspiracy involving Barack Obama, the CIA, the Rockefeller Foundation and Greenpeace, who he believed were attempting to close down his mining operation. In 2010, Palmer started a company called Zeppelin International, with the intention of making a commercially viable Zeppelin. After the plan came to nothing, it was ridiculed as the 'bizarre move of the year' by Australian business website Smartcompany. He has gained a reputation in Australia for floating ambitious and unusual business ideas which he fails to see through, and the Titanic II has been described as 'a classic Clive Palmer announcement'.
The idea of a commercialised replica of the Titanic has itself been criticised, being described as "insensitive" and "a mockery of the memory of those who died". Cunard Line, which merged with the White Star Line, stated that they "have always been very mindful and very respectful of such a tragic event [and] don't think that building a replica or a 'II' is appropriate."
- The original Titanic had a gross register tonnage of 46,328 GRT, which is not directly comparable with modern gross tonnage. However, as one register ton is equal to 100 cubic feet (2.83 m3), an approximate value of 39,640 GT can be calculated by using the formulae given in the The International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969.
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