Friday, June 15, 2012

The RMS Titanic...Reborn?

So last month, as many of you may have heard by now, an Australian Billionaire decided that he wanted to rebuild the Titanic (yes, that Titanic) by combining the aesthetics of the original with the amenities of the 21st century, and putting it all together with the help of a Chinese ship building company.

The original Titanic, built by Harland and Wolff for the While Star Line.

I don't know about you, but that last part doesn't give me much hope for this ship being "unsinkable". And if you didn't die due to the ship's poor construction, you would probably suffer a horrible terminal illness from the lead lining your bed frame and dining utensils. (Sorry China, but your track record made that jab inevitable.)

The fact that this billionaire is supposedly going through a Chinese company in order to escape regulations is another telling factor, one that should induce a good measure of skepticism for those who really do wish to see the Titanic rise from the ashes (I admit, I am one of these people).

Indeed, I could point out one possible regulatory issue he is going to have right off the bat. As you can see from the image above, Titanic's bow (the front portion of a ship) is at what is almost a ninety degree angle, and is constructed in such a way that it almost acts like a knife's edge cutting through the water.

That's great and all, except for the fact that this bow can actually freaking cut through things other than water with ease. In fact, Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic, was famous for plowing through ships and splitting them in two, and this in large part had to do (not only with the ineptitude of the crew) with the design of the bow.

The Olympic. Note the lack of window covers on the top deck which distinguishes her from her ill-fated sister.

I have not researched this lately, but I am fairly certain that bow's similar to Titanic's or Olympic's have been banned by many countries (which is why you never see ships of this particular frontal design anymore).

The Queen Mary 2, one of the only modern day Ocean Liners. Note the curved bow.

Additionally, I feel almost as if today's general public would be disappointed at the size of the Titanic. At 882 feet from stem to stern, the original Titanic is still a lengthy ship even by today's standards. However, while ships have not gotten much more elongated in recent decades, they have grown taller.

Much, much taller. So much taller in fact that the tip of Titanic's smokestacks would just barely graze the bridge of the Queen Mary 2, referenced in the picture above. This isn't helped by the fact that James Cameron's famous (or infamous) movie made the Titanic appear bigger than it actually was to provide inaccurate awe inspiring imagery for movie-goers.

Essentially what I am trying to say is that if you aren't a history or ship buff like I am, you probably won't be fascinated by the Titanic 2's aesthetics or presence.

Besides, what you will be seeing (if this ship is ever made, and that is a gigantic if) won't really be anything more than a likely poorly constructed facsimile of the real thing.

In my opinion this Billionaire is only announcing this to create publicity for himself and whoever he has partnered with to "build" the Titanic 2. The fact that he is producing this through a Chinese company to get by regulations is shady to say the least, and I would not be surprised at all if in four years (the ship will supposedly make its maiden voyage in 2016) it is announced that this project has gone nowhere.

It is a shame really, as rebuilding the Titanic may be an interesting prospect for historical and educational purposes. However, this story feels to me too much like a publicity stunt meant to increase the wealth of an already overly rich business man looking to take advantage of potential investors through a multimillion dollar boondoggle.

Having said that, as a huge fan of Titanic's history, I would probably be one of the first people buying a ticket for the 21st century's iteration of this infamous ship if it is indeed completed in 2016.

Let's just hope nobody gets the bright idea to build the "Iceberg II" in the meantime...


  1. There was an attempt to rebuild the Titanic in the early nineties, once again by a billionaire. However, he went to Belfast ( yes Harland and Wollf are still around) for a feasibility study and he wanted English- made furniture and the like. Some illustrations of what a true 21st century re-creation would look like can be found in this article ( I wish this guy had actually had the ship built, as I've been fascinated by the history of it since I was like 7 when I learned about it in school. I am tempted to just enjoy this project, but I can't help but think that it would suffer an engine fire ( or sink again) very quickly because of well.... China

    1. I wish they had made that. I totally would have bought a ticket for its maiden voyage.