by Jeni Bone
We can’t start 2014 without an update on what must surely be the most marvellous maritime dream of our times – mining magnate and politician, Clive Palmer’s Titanic II venture.
Construction is currently underway on this 'ship of dreams' at CSC Jinling Shipyard in China with her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in 2016. Apparently, applications for positions onboard, including Captain, are flooding in, and Chairman of Blue Star Lines, Palmer is spruiking the once-in-a-lifetime experience of all those who sail on her – from First Class passengers to wait staff onboard.
From the website, the explanation of this ambitious project goes thus: 'In April 2012 Professor Clive Palmer announced to the world his intention to reconstruct Titanic. The new ship, named Titanic II will be every bit as luxurious as the original. It is with this vision the world will once again be able to experience the bygone Edwardian period of ocean liner travel across the Atlantic.
Clive Palmer with Lloyds Register Paul Nichols
'It is through the rebuilding of the ship Professor Palmer wants to recognize the artists and artisans whose skill, creativity and dexterity has never to this day been fully acknowledged because of the ship’s limited service. This magnificent vessel is to be constructed in memory of the heroic people who served on the ship, the passengers who sadly shared their fate and all those that survived the tragedy.
'The new ship will have a welded hull, diesel power generation, bow thrusters for increased manoeuvrability and a new hull form below the waterline providing greater stability and fuel efficiencies. The ship comprises of 10 principle steel decks with state-of-the-art 21st century technology, latest navigation and safety systems.'
Palmer has made media headlines in the past week, stating he wants to make the accommodation onboard as authentic as possible: lavish First Class state rooms, luxurious Second Class and hundreds of passengers sleeping in cramped Third Class quarters, free to host their own parties and entertainment, but like their predecessors, not allowed to mingle with those on the top decks partaking in spas, galas, social gatherings and promenading.
One crucial upgrade will be the number of lifeboats. The original Titanic, carrying 2,224 passengers and crew, sank after hitting an iceberg during its maiden voyage 15 April 1912. It had 16 wooden lifeboats which accommodated just 1,178 people – a third of the total capacity.
The RMS Titanic was commissioned by White Star Line and was the largest liner in the world at just under 270m long, 53m high and weighing approximately 40,000 tonnes.
"King of the World" Clive Palmer
Palmer said Titanic II would have similar dimensions as its predecessor, with 840 rooms and nine decks. The only changes to the original Titanic would be below the water line including welding and not riveting, a bulbous bow for greater fuel efficiency, diesel generation and enlarged rudder and bow thrusters for increased manoeuvrability. Titanic II will also boast a slightly broader beam to enhance stability and seaworthiness.
Not only will staff onboard enjoy above-average accommodation, cruise-ship wages and 'bragging rights' as pioneers onboard this most noteworthy of replicas, they could also become film stars.
'Of course we'll be making a movie, Titanic II,' he told media recently. 'I don't think we'll be employing actors. We want the ones in the movie to be more true to real life.'
Palmer said applications would close at the end of 2015, before the 835-cabin behemoth sets sail on its maiden passenger voyage from Southampton to New York in 2016.
In September 2013, German hydrodynamic service and consulting group the Hamburg Ship Model Basin (HSVA) conducted the first model testing of the proposed Titanic II.
At the NY launch of the Titanic II
Palmer said in what was HSVA’s 5000th model test in the company’s centenary year, a 9.3m wooden model of Titanic II was put through propulsion and power testing in a 300m long tank at HSVA’s Hamburg facilities over four days,9 to 12 September.
'The model testing by HSVA, including resistance and open water tests, is an important part of the process in the Titanic II project,' Palmer stated. 'The Titanic II model was tested by HSVA at speeds of up to 23 knots and this testing is crucial for assessing the speed and power performance of this prototype vessel design.
'Blue Star Line was represented at the tests by the World Project Director of Titanic II, Baljeet Singh. We look forward to receiving the results.'
HSVA Director of Resistance and Propulsion, Dr Uwe Hollenbach, said HSVA was delighted to be part of the historic Titanic II project.
'The Titanic II model was given the HSVA model number 5000,' Dr Hollenbach said. 'In honour of Titanic II and Blue Star Line, we also held a naming ceremony and launched the model on a traditional slipway.'
Dr Hollenbach said model testing was the only accurate and reliable method for a passenger vessel prototype such as Titanic II. 'Titanic II is a prototype as present day passenger vessels have a completely different type of main hull parameters and therefore are unsuitable as references,' Dr Hollenbach said.
'The speed and power performance model testing is one of the critical aspects for a prototype vessel and needs to be verified before a construction contract is completed.
'Self-propulsion tests determine the optimal sense of wing propeller rotation, the neutral wing thruster angle and optimal load distribution between wing and centre units.'
More at http://bluestarline.com.au and www.titanic-ii.com
You can see the promotional video here, complete with the eerie rendition of 'Nearer My God to Thee'.