It’s been over a century since the RMS Titanic began its voyage to New York – a voyage that ended suddenly and tragically when the “unsinkable” ship struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean and sank only two hours and 40 minutes later.
The incident took place on April 14, 1912 and was met with shock, outrage and sadness, as over 1,500 people died as a result of the disaster, which could have been prevented had proper safety precautions and operational standards been met.
Now a fully functioning replica of the Titanic is set to launch in 2018—106 years after the original vessel tragically sank. Titanic II is the creation of Australian billionaire Clive Palmer and his company, Blue Star Line, and will look almost identical to the original cruise ship, according to the Independent.
A few of the differences include the size—the new ship is four metres wider than the original, and the hull is welded together rather than riveted, due to modern safety requirements.
The original Titanic could carry up to 64 wooden lifeboats, which would have been enough for 4,000 people—more than the ship’s passenger capacity. However, White Star Line, the ship’s owner and operator, decided that only 16 lifeboats and four collapsible boats would be carried, as that is all that the Board of Trade’s regulations required for the boat’s size. But 16 lifeboats would only be enough to accommodate 1,178 passengers—about half of the passengers on board and only one-third of the total capacity.
These new requirements—put in place after the demise of the original Titanic—will also see that the new ship is up to date with safety precautions such as marine evacuation systems and have enough lifeboats for all passengers. “The new Titanic will of course have modern evacuation procedures, satellite controls, digital navigation and radar systems and all those things you’d expect on a 21st century ship,” James McDonald, the marketing director of Blue Star Line said to the Independent.
1st Class Cabin
The replica ship will be 270 metres long, 83 metres high and weigh 40,000 tonnes. Just like the original, it will offer first, second and third class tickets. Spread among its nine floors will be 840 cabins, which will be used to accommodate 2,400 passengers and 900 crew members.
The maiden voyage will be from Jiangsu in Eastern China to Dubai, unlike the original voyage, which was to go from Southampton to New York.
According to Messy Nessy Chic, the concept of a replica has been explored—and failed—many times. Interest in the fateful ship experienced a resurgence after the world watched Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet fall in love aboard the Titanic in the 1997 Oscar-winning film of the same name.
3rd Class Cabin
So naturally there was quite the buzz surrounding the project when Palmer announced the news back in 2012, on the 100th anniversary of the sinking ship. Originally it was expected to set sail this year, in 2016, but since the announcement, things have gone a little quiet, causing people to believe that the idea had fizzled out.
3rd Dining Room
But a spokesperson for Palmer recently confirmed that the project has merely been delayed and will launch in 2018 instead.
The Blue Star Line Website has given a glimpse of the design of the Titanic II. All original dining rooms and restaurants will be represented as accurately as possible, and the ship will even feature replicas of the Titanic’s Turkish baths, swimming pool and gymnasium. According to Messy Nessy Chic, there are even rumours of an option to dress up in period costume to achieve the ultimate experience.
While McDonald has said that the project is being met with a favourable response, I can’t help but point out the obvious concern. Isn’t trying to create an exact replica of the original RMS Titanic, which saw the deaths of 1,500 people and encouraging new passengers to come aboard and revel in the experience a bit insensitive?