Although the R.M.S. Titanic vanished beneath the freezing waters of the North Atlantic Ocean in the wee hours of April 15th, 1912, she has never vanished from human memory. Perhaps it is the drama and the fight for survival that has kept the stories alive over 100 years later, or maybe the controversies and myths that surround the sinking have cemented Titanic in the minds of everyone from professional oceanographers to amateur historians. Now it seems that the great ship may live again in a replica built by Australian businessman and politician Clive Palmer, who appears to have resumed his plans for building Titanic II, a project which has been fraught with problems ever since it was first announced in 2013.
1. The Initial Announcement
When Palmer first announced his intentions to build Titanic II, it was met with both excitement and skepticism from all over the world. While some were thrilled at the thought of being able to take a cruise on a ship that modeled that ill-fated ocean liner, others were unsure whether such a ship should be built and whether it was in good taste to even attempt it. Palmer, who owns the Blue Star Line of passenger and cargo ships, said his replica would be a testament and a memorial to all those who lost their lives in the 1912 sinking.
Palmer revealed his plans in February of 2013 and announced that building would take place in China, but that its maiden voyage would mirror that of the original ship, from Southampton to New York City. The replica would include all the luxury Titanic offered its passengers, but with a modern twist. Palmer said the ship would be large enough to accommodate 2,435 passengers and 900 crew-members, well over a thousand more than the original Titanic was able to carry. At 883 feet, she would equal the length of her predecessor. The maiden voyage for the new ship was slated for 2016; however, Palmer would soon become entangled in legal battles that would affect his plans.
2. A Lengthy Delay
Once plans for Titanic II were announced, fans and Titanic enthusiasts from all over the world remained eager for news. Building was to take place in a Chinese shipyard, and aerial photos of the site were taken and shared online. However, as time went on, no updates came, and many people began to believe the new ship would never be built. A year went by, then two, and as 2015 arrived, naysayers began to assert that they had been correct: the project looked as if Palmer had abandoned it, and the Chinese site appeared as still as the graves as those in the Nova Scotia cemetery where many of Titanic’s victims were laid to rest.
Palmer made no public statements about plans to build Titanic II in 2014 or 2015, and several of his other companies, including Queensland Nickel, had gone bankrupt. While some speculated that the Blue Star Line would not survive, plans for Titanic II would soon rise from the ashes.
3. The Ship of Dreams: A New Hope
Much to the surprise of skeptics and those who had written off Titanic II as a pipe dream, Palmer recently announced plans to resume building the ship and explained the delay. Much of his company’s money had been tied up in legal battles over royalty disputes but the courts ruled in his favor, giving him the means to resume work on the ship. While it is unclear exactly when work will begin anew, Palmer is now speaking confidently about the completion of Titanic II, saying, “In 1912 the Titanic was the ship of dreams [ . . .] millions have dreamt of sailing on her, seeing her in port and experiencing her unique majesty. Titanic II will be the ship where those dreams come true.”
Palmer also asserted that the ocean liner will have 21st-century amenities that will rival that of any cruise ship currently in service and visit ports all over the world so everyone gets the chance to experience it.
Whether Titanic II will ever sail its route from Southampton to New York City remains to be seen. This is not the first time Clive Palmer has made headlines with the news of something being redone from the past. Palmer had claimed back in 2010, he would create airships for future travel, airships such as the ill-fated Hindenburg, which crashed and burned back in 1937. Though Palmer made headlines around the world for this stunning announcement, nothing ever came of it. No matter the outcome of this new Titanic, however, it is likely that Titanic, her history, and all the mystery and human drama that surrounds her legacy will remain.