The Titanic II is a planned ocean liner intended to be a functional modern-day replica of the RMS Titanic. The new ship is planned to have a gross tonnage (GT) of 56,000 while the original ship measured about 46,000 gross register tons (GRT). The project was announced by Australian billionaire Clive Palmer in April 2012 as the flagship of the proposed cruise company Blue Star Line of Brisbane, Australia. The intended launch date was originally set in 2016, delayed to 2018, then 2022. As of October 2018, the development of the project has resumed after years of hiatus.
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 Ltd. 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 Line 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 J. Bruce 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 and was accompanied by a display of items salvaged from the Titanic. There was also a breakfast held in Southampton on 13 March.On 16 April 2013, it was announced that Deltamarin had been contracted for the project development phase, and would be responsible for coordinating the various parties involved in the project, including the shipyard, architects, interior designers and operations managers. The feasibility study was complete, and the project development phase was ongoing. The signature of a contract and keel laying was expected in March 2014.
Further contracts and agreements relating to the design and construction were announced later in 2013; the appointment of V.Ships Leisure as ship management services partner, and of Tillberg Design as the provider of architectural and interior design services. On 17 July 2013, Blue Star Line announced that the classification society Lloyd's Register has joined the Titanic II project. The work carried by Lloyd's would ensure that the ship's design complied with the current SOLAS regulations.
Model testing using a 9.3-meter (31 ft) wooden model was undertaken in September 2013 at the Hamburgische Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt (HSVA). Resistance and powering tests were carried out in a 300-meter (980 ft) towing tank.
In an interview in February 2014, Palmer claimed that keel laying would take place in September 2014. He cautioned that the project was "a big job", that the original Titanic took seven years to build while they have been working for only two and a half, and said that he would have liked to start sooner but "wanted to make sure we don't make any mistakes". He claimed that a selection of cabins was being constructed on land for approval and that this would be completed by July 2014.
In April 2016 the administrators for Palmer's closed nickel refining company, Queensland Nickel alleged that almost $A6 million had been taken from that company to pay for the development and marketing of the Titanic II. At that time the administrators indicated that they would seek to recover this money.
Comparisons with the original TitanicEdit
The ship is designed to be as similar in internal and external appearance to the Titanic as possible. However, today's safety regulations and economic considerations dictated several major changes to the design, including:
- Greater beam for enhanced stability.
- Welded, not riveted, hull.
- Reduced draught (draft).
- Bulbous bow for higher fuel efficiency, although moderately sized compared to ships of newer designs.
- Stabilizers to reduce roll.
- Diesel-electric propulsion system with four diesel generating sets providing power for three azimuth thrusters to replace the original coal-fired boilers, steam engines, and steam turbine, as well as the rudder. Also, the ship would have had 2 bow thrusters.
- An additional "safety deck" between C and D decks for lifeboats and marine evacuation systems, with the boat deck housing replicas of the original lifeboats. Space for the deck was made by lowering decks D and below by 2.8 meters, and for the taller center section of the safety deck, which would have housed the lifeboats, by raising the superstructure by 1.3 meters. In spite of the reduced draft, space was 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.
- Observation decks in the redundant first two funnels, which would have had, according to Deltamarin, tinted window coverings to blend in with the funnels' color, intended to be as close as possible to the original "White Star buff."
- 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 showed 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 center 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 above the waterline (due to the insertion of the safety deck). However, the total height of the ship from the keel to funnels would be the same as the original, at 175 ft.
For economic reasons, the steam engines and coal-fired boilers of the original Titanic were replaced with a modern diesel-electric propulsion system. Space which housed the boilers would have been used for crew quarters and ships systems. Power was to 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 would have been by three azimuth thrusters which would also be used for maneuvering, while the replica of the rudder of the Titanic II is purely cosmetic, and would not have extended substantially below the waterline. The positioning of the azimuth thrusters necessitated the stern being made substantially blunter than the original.
The interior of the ship was intended to be as similar as possible to the original. Tillberg Design of Sweden was contracted to produce drawings replicating original ship's interiors. However, the original wooden paneling does not conform to modern fire regulations, so as in Queen Mary 2, veneers would have had to be used. Plans showed a layout broadly similar to the original, but with the third-class cabins modernized, and consideration being given to en-suite cabins throughout the ship. The room freed up by eliminating the steam boilers of the original ship would have been used for crew quarters and various services.
When the project was first announced in 2012, Palmer claimed that construction would begin before the end of the year, with a 2016 launch. The following year reports emerged that Clive Palmer was experiencing financial difficulties. The start of construction was postponed to March 2014, then to late 2014. When construction had still not begun in 2015 a spokesman for Palmer said the project had merely been delayed, and that the new ship would be launched in 2018 - two years later than initially planned. However, Deltamarin had told an Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist that work on the Titanic II project had been halted while workers at the Chinese shipyard identified as the likely site of construction were highly skeptical that the project would ever move beyond the proposal stage and the Blue Star Line trademark was "abandoned." Queensland Nickel went bankrupt and Palmer faced freezing of personal assets to recoup money owed the company's employees and creditors. When he declined to stand for re-election to his House of Representatives seat he stated that he might resume work on the project in his retirement. In May 2018 a European maritime equipment consortium published a list of all cruise ships on order through 2027 but none of the listed vessels fit Deltamarin's specifications for Titanic II. On September 27, 2018, the Blue Star Line, in a press release on their official website, announced that work on the project would recommence. Prior to this media release, the website had had no updates since May 2014.