NEVER LET GO

Brexit is another setback in the long, bizarre saga of the Titanic II

Clive Palmer has a dream.
Clive Palmer has a dream.
Image: Reuters/Mike Segar
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Australian billionaire and politician Clive Palmer has a dream, and that is to one day see the Titanic II sail across the Atlantic, just as the HMS Titanic was intended to.

But that dream—which was first announced in 2012—has hit a few setbacks, with the latest being Brexit. In a statement made in Brisbane, Australia on Monday, Palmer said that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union had forced his Australia-based Blue Star Line cruise company, responsible for the Titanic revival, to base their planned European office in Paris instead of London, as “it is of little use having a European headquarters outside Europe.” He added, “the decision will mean we won’t open our European office until March 2019, with Paris being ideally placed to suit the company’s needs.”

Brexit aside, the dream to recreate the ship where one of the worst peacetime maritime disasters in history unfolded has not exactly been smooth sailing. A planned launch in 2016 failed due to financial difficulties the year before, and a 2013 ad for a captain was never reported as filled. In September of this year, after four years of silence on Blue Star’s media page, a press release was issued announcing work on the ship had re-commenced. In October, Palmer told Cruise Arabia and Africa that the maiden voyage was slated for 2022, which would take the Titanic II from the shipyard where it is being constructed in China to Dubai, and then onwards to what will be its home port of Southampton.

From there, the Titanic II will begin retracing the ill-fated steps of the original Titanic on a weekly basis, from the port of Southampton to New York City–this time with air conditioning. According to September’s press release, the ship will offer an “authentic Titanic experience, providing passengers with a ship that has the same interiors and cabin layout as the original vessel, while integrating modern safety procedures, navigation methods, and 21st century technology to produce the highest level of luxurious comfort.’’ (It won’t be too authentic; the plan is for it to make the trip back again too).

For someone who is keen to tempt fate, it should come as no surprise that Palmer sounds like ever the dreamer. In his original statement outlining his vision for Titanic II, he took on a lofty, cinematic tone: “Titanic comes from a time when the world was different. When there was a different culture, different ways of living. When people worked with each other more. And as James Cameron reminds us… my heart will go on.”

And so, it seems, will this saga.