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What could go wrong this time?

After recently watching the Titanic go down on television, I’m not sure I’d want to sail across the Atlantic in early April on Titanic II, but apparently lots of people do. According to reports from the Blue Star Line, passengers are queueing up to buy tickets for the ship’s maiden voyage, expected next year.

I realize this subject has nothing to do with being a marine dealer, but blogs can be fun, too — especially on a midterm election day like this one. So today I’m wondering if we’ll ever witness Titanic II triumphantly sail into New York Harbor.

Assuming the hype is believable, construction of a replica of the ill-fated liner is underway at the CSC Jinling Shipyard in Jiangsu, China. It was supposed to be completed and sailing by now.

Titanic II is the brainchild of Australian billionaire Clive Palmer. The real estate and coal mining magnate announced his plans for the ship in 2012. Apparently construction ran aground for a time but is said to be rolling again, according to Blue Star.

But wait … You might have heard there’s another replica of the unsinkable ship under construction — where else but in China. This one is about 1,000 miles from the nearest seaport. It was to be delivered last year but has fallen way behind schedule, too. Apparently there’s a simple explanation:

"I didn't expect the ship would be this big," said Su Shaojun, the developer overseeing the project. "The movie didn't mention how big it was."

Apparently Su, a big fan of James Cameron's Titanic film of 20 years ago, is building an exact replica of the ship in the Sichuan countryside. That’s one way to be certain it will never meet an iceberg!

"I wanted to build a resort," Su said. "But I didn't want to copy others and make just another theme park. I wanted to build one that has cultural depth to it."

He said the film moved him so much that when he became a developer he decided to build a resort/theme park featuring a replica, or so the story goes.

Back to Titanic II. Palmer is reportedly steering construction himself, not unlike J. Bruce Ismay, the chairman and managing director of White Star Line when Titanic launched and the highest ranking company official to survive the sinking. The new ship will be 13 feet beamier and built to current regulations. She’ll be 885 feet, 2 feet longer than the original, have nine decks, and be 174 feet tall. Top end is 24 knots. She will accommodate 2,400 passengers (177 more than the Titanic) and adhere to modern evacuation procedures.

The hull will be welded, not riveted, in case it comes across a rogue iceberg, according to the Belfast Telegraph. And, yes, this time there will be enough lifeboats for every passenger and crewmember.

If you’re hoping to be on board for the maiden voyage, it won’t be from Southampton to New York, that infamous route. The maiden run will be from Jiangsu to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, the paper reports. The Southampton-New York run will come later. And while the costs of the voyage haven’t been set, Blue Star claims it has had offers of up to $900,000 for a ticket.

Is it really going to happen, or has Palmer blowing smoke up the world’s kilts? Is this story like the cops in Argentina who claimed that mice ate 1,200 pounds of pot that was case evidence?

Perhaps it could all qualify for its own official International Classification of Diseases medical code, such as V90.27XA: “Drowning and submersion due to falling or jumping from burning water skis.” Or W56.22XA: “Struck by an Orca.”

I’m not putting you on, these codes are real.

What I’m not sure about is whether Titanic II is real. That said, the other night I got a fortune cookie at a hibachi restaurant, and it so aptly read:

“May you live in interesting times!”




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