There are many perks to being a billionaire. One of them, apparently, is that if you get a crazy-ass idea to build a replica of the Titanic you can, well, go ahead and build a replica of the Titanic. And that's exactly what Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer is doing (with launch slated for 2016):
The ship will largely recreate the design and decor of the fabled original, with some modifications to keep it in line with current safety rules and shipbuilding practices, and the addition of some modern comforts such as air conditioning, Palmer said at a press conference in New York.
The three passenger classes, however, will be prevented from mingling, as in 1912, Palmer said.
“I’m not too superstitious,” Palmer said when asked whether recreating a ship best known for sinking was tempting fate.
Palmer will not claim that Titanic 2 will be unsinkable, but he does say it will have adequate lifeboats. Ironically, however, the first plans for Titanic 2, and its lifeboats, didn't quite hit that mark:
No discussion of the Titanic II is complete without a mention of the lifeboats. The lack of adequate lifeboats on the original Titanic was a major contributor to the deaths of over 1,500 passengers. Unfortunately, as reported in the press, it appears that the new ship will not have adequate lifeboat capacity to meet the current Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) rules. Frankly, we think that this is carrying authenticity a bit too far.
As reported by the Daily Mail and elsewhere:
There will be capacity for 2,435 passengers and 900 crew. There will also be lifeboats that can carry 2,700 and a life rafts with an additional capacity of 800. The original Titanic had just 16 wooden lifeboats that accommodated 1,178 people, one third of the total capacity. Some 1,502 people died when it sank on April 15 1912.
So here is how the math works out. 2,435 passengers + 900 crew = 3,335 people. The advertised lifeboat and raft capacity is 2,700 + 800 = 3,500. The problem is that SOLAS regulations require that there are sufficient lifeboats and life rafts to accommodate 125% of the total number of people on board, which in this case would be 3,335 *1.25 = 4,169. So based on the press reports, the new ship would be 669 lifeboat/liferaft spaces short.
Oops. Well, that shortcoming is being rapidly rectified. And one presumes that the new Titanic will be able to avoid hitting any icebergs. That leaves us with a very cool project, that will give the modern public a taste of the extraordinary romance and appeal of the original ship.
The Daily Mail gets into it by comparing a series of artist renderings of the new ship with photographs from the original:
If Palmer is to be believed, lots of potential passengers are very excited. he claims that so far 40,000 people
have registered for tickets on the ship's website with 16 offering between $750,000 and $1m to be on the opening voyage.