An Australian billionaire has announced plans to build a replica of the Titanic that will make its maiden voyage from England to New York in 2016. Weeks after the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the cruise liner, Clive Palmer said he had signed a memorandum of understanding with state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the Titanic II.
Mr Palmer said: ‘It will 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.’
He 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 after the Titanic hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its first voyage in 1912.
Before it set sail, it was heralded as the world’s largest, most luxurious and safest ocean liner.
Various events were held to mark the anniversary earlier this month, including a memorial cruise which carried more than 1,500 passengers, some of whom had direct links with the doomed liner, to the very spot where it sank.
A service took place at the very time it went under.
Palmer built a fortune on real estate on Australia’s Gold Coast tourist strip before becoming a coal mining magnate.
BRW magazine reported he was Australia’s fifth-richest person last year with an estimated fortune of more than AUS$5billion (£3.2billion).
Palmer said at a press conference that previous attempts to build a Titanic replica failed because proponents failed to raise enough money and commission a shipyard.
The Titanic II is the first of four luxury cruise ships Palmer has commissioned CSC Jinling Shipyard to build.
Palmer did not provide a cost estimate. He said he had established a new shipping company, Blue Star Line Pty. Ltd., and that design work for the Titanic II has begun with assistance from a historical research team.
The diesel-powered ship will have four smoke stacks like the coal-powered original, but they will be purely decorative.
The most obvious changes from the original Titanic would be below the water line, including welding rather than rivets, a bulbous bow for greater fuel efficiency and enlarged rudder and bow thrusters for increased maneuverability, Palmer said.