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Jul 15th 2019

Titanic II Construction Is the Tip of the Iceberg

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Despite the tragic disaster that was the voyage of the Titanic, shipping company Blue Star Line is looking to replicate the ship, with Titanic II construction now underway. In 1912, the original Titanic was the largest passenger ship of its time, and even though the builders called it “unsinkable,” five days after launch, it hit an iceberg and sunk in less than three short hours. Approximately 1,500 people died in this famous tragedy. The disaster was even more famous with the 1997 film “Titanic.” So why would anyone want to repeat one of the biggest failures in history?

A Replica With Modern Technology

The new project could potentially have the same grandeur of the original ship, but with modern marine technology to keep all passengers safe. Australian businessman Clive Palmer is backing Titanic II construction, with a price tag of approximately $500 million, according to Business Insider. The new version would maintain the cabin layout, class categories, restaurants, dining rooms and length of the original. It would have the same architecture, including the smoking room, indoor pool and iconic grand staircase that made the ship so appealing. The plan is to sail along the same route as the original … but with today’s navigation systems and safety equipment.

What Went Wrong the First Time Around?

History reports that several problems caused Titanic to sink, even though the ship was equipped with the best technology of its time, such as a sophisticated electrical control panel and an advanced wireless communications system that could transmit Morse code. Despite these precautions, the Titanic was not as safe as it appeared. The ship was traveling too fast, the wireless radio operator ignored a key iceberg warning and hazy environmental conditions contributed to the tragedy. The ship’s construction wasn’t perfect, and the Titanic broke apart on the ocean’s surface. The ship’s 3 million rivets had “a high concentration of ‘slag,’ a smelting residue that can make metal split apart,” according to History.com. This defect could have weakened the part of the hull that hit the iceberg.

How Is Titanic II Different?

The new ship will have a sturdier welded hull instead of a riveted one, according to Business Insider. The original was equipped with only 20 lifeboats, which was enough for one-third of the passengers. Titanic II will have a new safety deck to hold the right number of lifeboats for all passengers and crew, just in case of a disaster scenario. For added stability, Blue Star says the new version will be a few meters wider than the original. Big boats are common now, and Business Insider points out that today’s cruise ships are actually much bigger than the Titanic.

While there are some construction improvements that should help make the new vessel sturdier, the main improvements are not aimed at surviving an iceberg but avoiding one in the first place. There have been many technological improvements since the disaster that should keep the second ship from suffering the same fate.

Technology Improvements

Today’s boat captains have the aid of global positioning system (GPS) to guide navigation. Marine Insight points out that marine radar is the most used equipment on the ship’s bridge. Radar technology was introduced in World War II, and it has improved since then. While the original Titanic relied on a human lookout aided with binoculars, today’s ships benefit from radar that is enhanced with computer technology. The result: Boats can be equipped with automatic collision avoidance and detection data.

Now we also have data about iceberg locations. After the disastrous Titanic sinking, The International Ice Patrol was established. Today, the group monitors 500,000 square miles of ocean, watching for icebergs in shipping lanes so that captains can know in advance where the danger is and they can plan the route accordingly. According to Popular Science, the only recent issues with iceberg collisions have happened to ships that didn’t heed the Ice Patrol’s warnings.

With today’s communication systems, navigation, radar technology and safety regulations, large passenger ships are far better prepared to avoid icebergs. Titanic II construction might look like its predecessor, but vintage furnishings will be underpinned by advanced marine technology. The new ship is expected to set sail in 2022.

 

Northrop Grumman has a long history of research and development resulting in innovation and discovery. We’re always looking for people to join our team and participate in creating the next big thing: Careers.NorthropGrumman.com.

 

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