The sinking of the “unsinkable” RMS Titanic in 1912 marked one of the most iconic and chilling moments in modern maritime history. Amid countless movies (why the hell did Rose hog that damn floating door anyway?), books, research expeditions, and, as of 2019, the ability to visit and explore the ship itself, few ships have so captured the public’s fascination. Now, one ambitious Australian company is looking to launch Titanic II, an eerily similar ship set to travel the same ill-fated route as its predecessor. What could possibly go wrong?
Late last month, the Chairman of Blue Star Line, Clive Palmer, announced the relaunch of his company’s intent to build Titanic II. He hopes to put the ship into regular service between London and New York City with the promise to eventually circumnavigate the globe. In a press release, Palmer said, “Blue Star Line will create an authentic Titanic experience, providing passengers with a ship that has the same interiors and cabin layout as the original vessel, while integrating modern safety procedures, navigation methods and 21st-century technology to produce the highest level of luxurious comfort.”
Sure, the concept is insane on the surface. Even if you don’t believe in fate, this seems the very definition of “tempting fate.” Yet, there’s no doubt a niche market among travelers who love the ship’s mystique, the adventure, the morbid curiosity, or some combination of the three. For them, sailing a Titanic reboot would be very bucket-list-worthy.
The original RMS Titanic commissioned by White Star Line was impressive even by today’s standards. In its day, it was the world’s largest, most advanced ocean liner at 886 feet (270 meters) long, 174 feet (53 meters) high, and weighed a staggering 40,000 tons. The Titanic II will match its predecessor with many of the same dimensions. All told, the new ship could carry 2,400 passengers in 840 staterooms spread across nine passenger decks. The all-in price will likely top USD $500 million.
Palmer first announced his intent to relaunch a Titanic-inspired vessel back in 2012. However, the project was quickly mired in red tape, legal complications, and tax issues. In 2015, the build was put on ice (Get it? What? Too soon?) until last month. However, construction of a working Titanic replica is proving tricky as there’s still a mountain of technical and technological hurdles to overcome. Modern passenger ships rely on markedly different — and much improved — hull construction and propulsion systems. The company has touted successful, small-scale models in laboratories in Germany, but translating those models into a working vessel is another matter entirely.
Titanic II will purportedly make her maiden voyage sometime in 2022. Given the project’s past issues and the fact that it’s still only a concept, however, there’s no telling if (or when) she will actually set sail.
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