By Robb M. Stewart
Australia’s version of the Titanic has taken another step towards becoming reality.
Finnish ship design and marine engineering firm Deltamarin Ltd. has been commissioned to assist with the construction of modern version of the ill-fated passenger liner for Australian billionaire Clive Palmer.
Mr. Palmer in an emailed statement Tuesday said his recently established shipping company, Blue Star Line Pty. Ltd., has hired Deltamarin to undertake a full review of the Titanic II project to ensure the vessel will be compliant with all current safety and construction regulations. Hopefully that includes icebergs.
China’s state-owned CSC Jinling Shipyard was hired in late April to build Titanic II, a luxury ship that will be constructed to the same dimensions as the original vessel that sank 100 years ago. Mr. Palmer has previously said the only changes would be below the water line, including welding rather than riveting, a bulbous bow for greater fuel efficiency, diesel generation, and enlarged rudder and bow thrusters for increased maneuverability.
Mr. Palmer reaffirmed plans to launch the ship in 2016, with the intention of sailing from China to England before a maiden voyage retracing the intended original journey.
“More than 20,000 people have registered on Blue Star Line’s website expressing an interest in receiving regular updates from us or requesting information on how to secure bookings for Titanic II’s maiden voyage,” he said.
The plans are for a ship with 840 rooms and nine decks. The original Titanic was commissioned by White Star Line and was the largest liner in the world at about 270 meters long and 53 meters high, and weighing about 40,000 metric tons, which by today’s standards wouldn’t rank among the top 20 biggest cruise ships.
Mr. Palmer–who is developing coal and iron-ore assets in Australia and is building a portfolio of tourism businesses–has plans to run for the seat of Lilley in Queensland state under the Liberal Party, which is now held by Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan of the Labor Party. He last week said he would announce plans to seek preselection for the Lilley seat by July 3.
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