There have been several proposals and studies for a project to build a replica ship based on the famous Olympic-class ocean liner, RMS Titanic. A project by South African businessman Sarel Gaus was abandoned in 2006, and a project by Australian businessman Clive Palmer was announced in 2012, known as the Titanic II. While Palmer has made no official announcement about his project being abandoned, it appears to have been shelved by 2015. A Titanic replica intended for an inland theme park in Sichuan, China commenced construction in May 2015.
Economic viability of a recreation
In 1989, Popular Mechanics magazine explored the feasibility of such projects, in consultation with Neil Gallagher of the Webb Institute. The article discussed the significant changes to the original design required to produce a safe and economically viable ship. Most of the changes would appear below the water line:
- Welded, not riveted, hull
- Bulbous bow for greater fuel efficiency
- Enlarged rudder and bow thrusters for increased maneuverability
- Horizontal stabilizers
- Diesel electric generation and propulsion would free up the cavernous space used by Titanic’s 159 coal furnaces and 29 boilers
- Vacated space could be used for waste processing, water treatment, and air conditioning.
Extra funnels not needed for diesel generator exhaust would be dummy funnels. The economic feasibility was more uncertain. The engineering challenges would drive the construction costs to approximately twice the cost of a modern cruise ship.
Sarel Gous project (1998–2006)
South African businessman mogul Sarel Gous proposed building Titanic II in 1998. Gous said he had got hold of the original drawings for the famous ship and now wanted to fulfill his dream. If the ship had been completed, she would have had a length of 290 metres and a width of 33 metres, making her the largest cruise liner in the world.
Gous originally considered constructing the ship in Durban, South Africa. Having commissioned a feasibility study into the project with Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, he presented the proposal to Belfast City Council in June 2000. The project was priced at around £500 million. In November 2000, Gous signed an agreement with a Monaco-based firm to finance the construction of the ship. He stated that construction would begin within the next nine months. The brand name of the company that would operate the Replica Titanic was to be the White Star Line, acting as a revival of the now defunct shipping line.
From the outset the intention was to build an exact copy but with enough lifeboats. Due to SOLAS regulations, this proved to be impossible to meet. Modern fire-prevention regulations prohibit the large-scale use of wood in the interior. It is also no longer legal to have lifeboats mounted as high as they were on Titanic. Standards now require that life boats be mounted no higher than 15 m (49 ft) above the waterline. A replica Titanic would require a height exemption similar to that granted the RMS Queen Mary 2.
In 2006 the Replica Titanic project was scrapped due to high costs and a low amount of support for the project. The last Titanic survivor, Millvina Dean, had expressed her opposition to the project.[dead link]
Clive Palmer project (2012-Present)
On 30 April 2012, Australian billionaire Clive Palmer announced a project to build a near replica of the Titanic. Palmer established the company Blue Star Line to build and operate the ship. The maiden voyage was initially scheduled for 2016, later postponed to 2018. The ship would be as close as possible in design to the original Titanic, but underneath would be a ship of modern specifications with stabilisers, diesel electric propulsion (utilising Azimuth thrusts) and the health and safety features found onboard modern cruise vessels.
According to the general arrangement published on 17 July 2012, the length of the replica was to be the same as that of the original ship, but it would be 4.2 metres (13 ft 9 in) wider and its draught would be smaller by 3 metres (9 ft 10 in). The lower deck cabins were to be "typical for a modern cruise vessel" while cabins and public rooms from D deck upwards would be "as in the original ship".
By March 2015, design work on the ship was on hold and it was unclear whether the project would proceed. During the first half of 2015 evidence accumulated strongly suggesting that the project had been abandoned. In March 2015 Deltamarin told an Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist that work on the Titanic II project had been halted. Also in March it was reported that no work had begun or been ordered in the Chinese shipyard identified as the likely site of construction with workers highly skeptical that the project would ever move beyond the proposal stage. On March 26, 2015, the Blue Star Line trademark was listed as "abandoned". As of May 2015 Blue Star Line had made no updates to its official web site or media pages.
In September 2015, a spokesman for Palmer said the project had merely been delayed, and that the ship would be launched in 2018 - two years later than initially planned. The vessel's maiden voyage would now be from Jiangsu, China, to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where Blue Star Line was developing licensing partnerships for its Titanic II trademark. However, as of late 2015, Blue Star Line had made no updates to its official web site or media pages concerning this. Palmer's nickel refining business was reported to be experiencing a cash flow crisis while his charitable contributions had declined and his corporate jet was put up for sale. On February 11, 2016, CNN published an article detailing that the launch date has been pushed back to 2018.
Seven Star project (2013-, in construction from May 2015)
The first Titanic replica to actually commence construction was commissioned by Chinese firm Seven Star Energy Investment and is being constructed by Wuchang Shipbuilding. The project was first reported by the media in October 2013 and formally launched in January 2014.
The replica is intended as the main attraction for the Romandisea theme park in Sichuan, where it will be permanently anchored on the river Daying Qi after its completion in August 2017. Since this replica is not intended to sail on any ocean, it is unclear to what extent it will be a functional ship. It will, however, be used to re-enact the sinking as an up-charge attraction. In August 2016, a spokesman for the investor group stated that the replica would be assembled by the end of the year and would employ about 1000 workers. He also indicated that there will be "a special tourist route to the assembly site for people to witness the revival of the luxury liner".
- Wilson, James (September 1998). Titanic Reborn (p. 56-59). Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- "Titanic2". Titanic Norden. 12 December 2004. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
- Ringshaw, Grant. "A Titanic task". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- "BBC News - NORTHERN IRELAND - Tycoon presents Titanic II proposal". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- Dreams afloat to build Titanic II
- "Titanic Replica". Titanic-titanic.com. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
- Louis, Epstein. "To Build a New Titanic?". Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- "Le Titanic reconstruit". Titanic.pagesperso-orange.fr. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
- "Geredde baby tegen herbouw Titanic". Archief.nrc.nl. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
- "Clive Palmer plans to build Titanic II". Sydney Morning Herald. 30 April 2012.
- "Titanic II to Be Built by Billionaire Palmer, Chinese Yard". Bloomberg. April 30, 2012.
- "Titanic II a step closer to reality". Brisbane Times. 19 June 2012.
- "Clive Palmer reveals detailed plans for Titanic II, featuring added safety features and bans on pensioner gambling". Courier-Mail. 17 July 2012.
- Deltamarin (12 July 2012). "General Arrangement Titanic II Project" (PDF). Retrieved 17 July 2012.
- McCutcheon, Peter (27 March 2015). "Clive Palmer's empire feeling the pinch from falling iron ore prices". ABC News. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
- "Palmer's Titanic II plans all but scuttled". 9News.com Finance. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- "TITANIC II BLUE STAR LINE - Reviews & Brand Information - Clive Palmer Brisbane, Queensland, - Serial Number: 79142812". trademarkia.com. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- "Homepage: Blue Star Line". Blue Star Line - Home of Titanic II. Blue Star Line Pty Ltd. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "Titanic 2 ticket demand renewed following latest launch news". CruiseNews. Dansway Communications LTD. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
- McNeilly, Claire (1 September 2015). "Titanic II set to sail in 2018, says Aussie billionaire". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
- "Titanic II is to sail maiden voyage in 2018 from China to Dubai in United Arab Emirates". Cruise Arabia & Africa. 26 September 2015.
- "Homepage: Blue Star Line". Blue Star Line - Home of Titanic II. Blue Star Line Pty Ltd. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
- Robertson, Joshua (4 December 2015). "Clive Palmer, political gambler, must soon show Queensland Nickel hand". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
- Respers, Lisa (11 February 2016). "Titanic II launch pushed back to 2018". CNN. CNN. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "China's Wuchang Shipbuilding eying large cruise ship Construction". Retrieved 2 July 2016.
- "World's first full-scale Titanic replica to be built in Sichuan". Shanghaiist. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- "Life-size Titanic replica coming up in Sichuan - Shanghai Daily". shanghaidaily.com. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- "Chinese firm Seven Star to build full-size Titanic replica and sink it". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- "State-run shipbuilder begins assembling parts for full-scale Titanic replica - Global Times". globaltimes.cn. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- "Titanic II or Titanic III". The Maritime Executive. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- "Wanna sink on Titanic? Tourists to flock to China's replica of iconic ship". RT. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
- Yuan, Fang (August 17, 2016). "Life-size replica of Titanic to be assembled late this year". China.org.cn. Retrieved 23 August 2016.