Australian billionaire reveals Titanic replica vision
Designs for a replica of the Titanic funded by an Australian billionaire were unveiled at a London press conference today.
Mining magnate Professor Clive Palmer plans to build a 55,800 tonne replica of the iconic ship before repeating her doomed maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in late 2016.
Speaking before a black-tie dinner at the Natural History Museum this evening to celebrate the project, Prof Palmer said the experience will be as authentic as possible, with no internet access provided and guests given period costumes.
“There will be no internet, there will be no twitter, there will be no email on Titanic II,” he said. “It’s not designed for you to have your mobile phone ringing while you’re having a Martini in the smoking room.”
But despite the lack of mod cons available on modern cruise liners Prof Palmer, who claimed he would be travelling incognito in third class to “meet real people”, was unconcerned about passenger numbers dropping off after the initial novelty had passed announcing that projected ticket sales already more than cover the cost of the ship.
He said: “We’ve got 40,000 people who have requested a ticket so you’d have to ask them. 40,000 is not too bad before we’ve actually launched the plans for the vessel so it does indicate people don’t want to travel in cruise ships that are just floating apartment blocks.”
The ship will be 269m long and 32.2m wide, a few inches longer than the original to allow a camera on the bow to recreate the iconic scene from James Cameron’s blockbuster Titanic, and 4m wider to improve stability.
Called Titanic II, the ship will be designed by Finnish naval architecture and engineering firm Deltamarin and built at sate-owned CSC Jinling Shipyard in Jiangsu, China, where Prof Palmer is already building four other ships.
With contracts yet to be signed between the shipyard and the industrialist’s Blue Star Line company he was asked if the scheme was an elaborate hoax, but he assured reporters a memorandum of understanding had been signed and they expected to sign a contract in April.
“The Titanic took six years to design and construct. We’ve been going six months and we’re already where they were by two-and-a-half years,” he said.
The ship will have a total main engine power of 48,000KW delivered through three Azipod diesel-electric-driven propellers mounted on a steerable pod, allowing it to achieve a top speed of 24 knots, as well as two 2,000KW bow thrusters.
Most importantly for the 2,435 passengers and 900 crew considering the fate of its predecessor, the designs include an extra safety deck with fully enclosed motor-driven lifeboats with capacity for 2,700 people and marine evacuation systems with capacity for a further 800.
“From a passenger point of view it is authentic to the Titanic. From a safety point of view we have to meet all the safety regulations,” said Markku Kanerva, director of sales for Deltamarin.
“That means carrying out a lot of simulations for all kinds of events, incidents and accidents that may happen.”
But aside from the challenges of installing modern equipment such as air conditioning, lift systems and radar, Mr Kanerva said it was a “big surprise” to see how well the original had been designed, especially in terms of subdivision to prevent fire spreading despite there being no regulations requiring this.
“In many respects to fulfil the present day’s regulations was not that big a challenge as we thought at the beginning,” he said.
“The major challenge today is of course that we can’t use the same material as was used in the original Titanic because the present rules today don’t allow that type of burnable material.”
Listen to the E&T podcast interview with Markku Kanerva, director of sales for Deltamarin.
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