Australian billionaire commissions 21st-century Titanic replica
Just weeks after a special memorial cruise to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, an Australian billionaire has announced plans to build an exact replica of the doomed liner.
The 21st-century version of the famous ship will be historically accurate and will make its maiden voyage from England to New York in 2016.
Clive Palmer has commissioned Chinese company CSC Jinlin Shipyard to build Titanic II - a life-sized replica of the White Star Line's ship.
An historical research team will help to draw up the plans for the vessel, which will have the same dimensions as its predecessor, and will feature nine decks and 840 rooms.
Mr Palmer said: ‘Titanic II will be the ultimate in comfort and luxury with on-board gymnasiums and swimming pools, libraries, high class restaurants and luxury cabins.’
The only differences will be below the water line - the ship will be powered by diesel rather than coal and will include a bulbous bow for greater fuel efficiency, plus an enlarged rudder and bow thrusters for improved manoeuvrability.
It will have four smoke stacks like the coal-powered original, but they will be purely decorative.
Mr Palmer said the replica would be ‘every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic’ but will have state-of-the-art 21st-century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems.
When asked whether the new replica would sink, Mr Palmer replied: ‘Of course it will sink if you put a hole in it.
‘It is going to be designed so it won’t sink. It will be designed as a modern ship with all the technology to ensure that doesn't happen.
‘But, of course, if you are superstitious like you are, you never know what could happen.’
Titanic II is the first of four luxury cruise ships Mr Palmer has commissioned CSC Jinling Shipyard to build.
The construction is expected to begin next year but the cost has not yet been revealed.
It is not the mining magnate’s first venture into tourism – he already owns a luxury holiday resort on the Sunshine Coast.
Mr Palmer called the project ‘a tribute to the spirit of the men and women who worked on the original Titanic.’
More than 1,500 people died in the sinking of the Titanic, which at the time was the world's largest and most luxurious ocean liner.
The vessel struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on April 14 1912 and sunk less than three hours later.