Shanghai: Blue Star Line, the company behind the ambitious bid to build a replica of the Titanic, insists the project is moving ahead as planned, despite sources close to the project suggesting it has run into difficulties.
A Blue Star Line spokesman in Australia told Asia Cruise News of the Titanic II project, “It’s on track.”
The comment comes in response to sources close to the plan saying the aim to get the ship sailing its first paid voyage from Southampton to New York in 2016, as originally planned, was looking optimistic.
“The project is a bit frozen at the moment,” one source said.
Clive Palmer, the mining tycoon behind Titanic II, is alleged to have been disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm to build the ship in China and that the quotes to build there in terms of delivery time and price were not what he was expecting, and he is now thought to be reconsidering the project.
“Palmer was expecting to find a sponsor and a partner at a Chinese shipyard, but he did not,” the source said.
Palmer’s Blue Star Line chose CSC Jinling Shipyard in China to build the ship, a yard where Palmer, via another subsidiary Queensland Nickel Group, placed an order for four 64,000 dwt dry bulk carriers in 2012.
As it stands, just a memorandum of understanding has been signed between Blue Star Line and CSC Jinling, and this was more than a year ago.
In February 2013, Palmer told our sister site Maritime CEO: “We’re still going through the final contract process so I can’t provide a time for when that will be completed. There are no major issues and we still expect the ship will be built in time for the maiden voyage in 2016.”
Three different spokespeople at CSC Jinling remained tightlipped on the Titanic II project when contacted by Asia Cruise News yesterday, refusing to confirm or deny whether the ship construction would go ahead.
Blue Star Line has orchestrated a massive publicity campaign to trumpet the Titanic II’s construction with gala dinners in Hong Kong, Macau, New York and London and a blitz of press releases. The most recent release came on December 20 last year, in which Blue Star Line stated: “Titanic II, a full scale version of the original ship, is being designed by the Finnish-based Deltamarin ship design and marine engineering company and will be built by leading Chinese shipbuilders CSC Jinling Shipyard”. [05/03/14]