A bold project funded by an australian billionaire, the Titanic II, will be a stunning replica of the famous ship sunk in 1912. This reenactment is supposed to sail this year, in accordance with current standards, of course. But more than that ; how can a brand, develop a new business on a tragedy ?
The most famous liner in history will return to service ! At least, that’s what the australian billionaire Clive Palmer claims ; at the origin of this new shipping company: the Blue Star Line. Almost compliant replica of his shipwrecked model ; the Titanic II, was to cross the Atlantic this year, between Southampton in England and New York. After a delay in the launch date, the replica of “the unsinkable” is finally supposed to sail this year in China, where it is currently under construction. The project was unveiled to the public in 2012 following the signing of agreements with the Chinese shipyard CSC Jinling. Interestingly, it was announced that the Finnish shipbuilding firm Deltamarin Ltd. would have been in charge of the design of the ship.
A bluffing reality and a vintage lust
Refined woodwork, luxurious dining rooms, legendary swimming pool … The Titanic II will be a true copy of the ship sunk in 1912, down to a few details. Under supervision of a history research team, the “new Titanic” will measure 270 metres long, 53 metres high and weigh nearly 40,000 tonnes as its model, says the company Blue Star Line. All the company’s efforts will be invested to make the customers feel as close to reality. “There will be no phones, no television, and we’re still debating on Internet access” ; says Blue Star Line management.
The only major and obvious difference is the safety policy. On-board technologies will meet current requirements. This time, the ship will be equipped with a sufficient number of lifeboats. Other improvements : the liner will be equipped with air conditioning and a high-tech main engine.
What is the situation today ?
However, despite such promises, is the dream so close to reality ? Indeed, the company and its founder faced several problems on different levels. And as often in this kind of projects it’s the money that runs out first. When the project was first announced in 2012, the Blue Star Line stated that construction would begin before the end of the year, with a launch in 2016. The following year’s reports revealed that Clive Palmer, the founder, was in financial difficulty. As a result, the start of work was postponed until the end of 2014. In 2015 construction had still not started and the company said that the project was simply delayed and that the vessel would be finally launched in 2018.
In addition, Clive Palmer has often been described as an “eccentric billionaire” who has earned the reputation of having ambitious and unusual stable business ideas. Titanic II was described as “a classic announcement by Clive Palmer“.
CSC Jinling Shipyard has never built a large passenger ship and has no experience in this area. In addition, recent satellite images of the region do not reveal any trace of a vessel over 200 metres under construction.
Finally, the last problem for the brand is the project’s own ethics. It is a real brand building problem for the Blue Star Line to build the Titanic II. Indeed, the idea of a commercial replica of the Titanic was itself criticised as insensitive and “mockery of the memory of those who died”. So is the construction of such a replica appropriate ? Can we build the version 2 of a graveyard ship ? It might seem disrespectful to do business on a tragedy…
This is a difficult position that supports the brand. It has many fans and many detractors. The Blue Star Line will have to stay away from the image of luxury consumer cruises out of respect for the dead in this tragedy. But must on the other hand, the company will have to offer downhill activities to better entertain its passengers. These are all problems encountered by the brand. Moreover, the Blue Star Line did not update its official website since May 2014, and the official Titanic II website has been removed. The Titanic II already seems to be more than a distant memory…
Google Earth : Date : 23/08/2017, Coordinated number : 32°06’59.11’’N 118°45’20.13’’E