The sinking of the RMS Titanic happened more than 100 years ago, but it may be making a kind of comeback.
Even before James Cameron’s definitive film about a doomed ship with doors that could easily hold two adults, the Titanic was the stuff of legend. As one of the deadliest peaceful maritime disasters in history, the sinking of an unsinkable ship has an almost magical significance. It is as if the hubris of humanity in the early 20th century was so great that God or Fate or Mother Nature felt the need to slap us down to size. Yet, one funny thing about human beings is we never stay “down to size” for very long. If an Australian mining magnate has anything to say about the Titanic II will set sail on the same route as the original by 2022.
Clive Palmer, a mining magnate and politician from Australia, wants to build a replica of the famed ship, for no other reason than he can. Though, to be fair, Palmer isn’t really getting his hands dirty. This is an Olympic-class luxury liner, so it would have to be built by trained shipbuilders. And while a replica is nice, no luxury cruise should be taken without the top-of-the-line communication and navigation tools. Should Palmer even invest in a Titanic II or should he make the Titanic 2.0?
Isn’t the Titanic the Boat from That Movie?
It’s possible that in 2018, there are some folks out there who think of the Titanic as a movie first and not a real-world tragedy. It makes sense, the distance history provides such things. The last living survivor of the sinking passed on in 2009 at the age of 97, two months old at the time of the sinking. The last survivor with memories of that night passed on three years earlier. All that remains are memories and fictions. The Titanic was a luxury liner whose marketers boasted it was unsinkable. However, the manufacturers cut corners and the crew made bad decisions. On the morning of April 15, 1912, the ship found itself in “Iceberg Alley.”
The ship collided with one of them and soon began to sink. While some people immediately fled for life boats, others stayed believing that the ship was unsinkable. Of the more than 2,220 people on board the ship, only 710 survived. Most of them were women and children. In 1985, deep sea investigators found the ship on the ocean floor. Since then, Titanic frenzy took over the world, culminating in Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster. Clive Palmer, however, wants to add a new chapter that story by building the Titanic II.
What Is the Titanic II?
Shortly after the Titanic’s discovery on the ocean floor, some suggested the idea of raising the wreckage. This macabre idea is not really feasible, and many of the survivors spoke out against it. Still, people want to see the ship, preferably in its full splendor. So, why not just rebuild it? Of all the proposed Titanic replicas, there are only a few truly worth mentioning. The first seemingly serious effort came in 1998 when South African businessman Sarel Gaus started an eight-year project that ultimately failed. In 2012, Palmer announced his plans with a Chinese ship-building firm that would have the ship on the water by 2016. That didn’t happen.
Tied up in court for years, Palmer recently won some of his funding back from his previous partners. With this financing, he’s ready to start building again, this time setting his sights on a 2022 launch date. A fourth attempt to rebuild the Titanic is also in China, a joint venture with Seven Star Energy Investment and Wuchang Shipbuilding. The plan is to build a replica Titanic, but one that will be permanently docked near a resort. Tariffs on steel have helped further stall the project, and it’s currently in limbo with only about six of the nine decks.
So, Will the Titanic II Set Sail in 2022?
There are number of reasons to believe that this ship will not set sail by the next time the U.S. is gearing up for mid-term elections. First, this is the third launch date announced by Palmer, and the previous two fell through. Second, to build an exact replica of the Titanic and then sail it commercially would be against the law. Safety regulations would require the ship get an exemption for its height like the RMS Queen Mary 2. They couldn’t use wood in the interior of the ship because of fire regulations. Also, rather than the hellish coal furnaces and boilers taking up space below decks, diesel engines would take up much less space. The space saved could be used for modern air conditioning, water filtration, and other systems. Similarly, life boats and other regulations would require significant cosmetic changes.
A museum piece like the Seven Star and Wuchang project might be a fun idea. It would require fewer compromises than a sea-worthy version. Yet, recreating a ship from the early 1900s isn’t a great idea. There are luxury cruises that offer exotic destinations, top-of-the-line luxury, and high-tech amenities. You can find yachts that will take across the Atlantic Ocean, feel like luxury liners, or are for simple getaways for you and loved ones. It’s nice to remember the victims of this tragedy and to build up legends around the ship. Yet, putting one back on the water seems like a step too far.
What do you think? Would you take a trip on a replica Titanic? Share your thoughts in the comments below.