Australian billionaire Clive Palmer announced that he will be commissioning the construction of a high-tech replica of the Titanic at a Chinese shipyard that is scheduled to make its maiden voyage from England to New York in 2016.
Only weeks after the 100th anniversary of sinking of the original vessel and the film 3D re-release of James Cameron’s Oscar-winning film, Palmer said he has signed a memorandum of understanding with state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the Titanic II.
Let’s hope Palmer is smart enough to include enough life boats this time. Over 1,500 people died when the original Titanic hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic during its first and only voyage. The ship was considered one of the most luxurious and ocean liner of its time.
Palmer did not release the details about how much his new project will cost but said he has established a new shipping company, Blue Star Line Pty. Ltd. He is receiving assistance with the design of Titanic II from a historical research team.
According to BRW magazine, Palmer was the fifth richest person in Australia last year, building a fortune from his real estate on Australia’s Gold Coast and coal mining. Palmer has high hopes for his latest business venture.
“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,” Palmer said in a statement. He called the project “a tribute to the spirit of the men and women who worked on the original Titanic.”
The new diesel-powered ship will be similar to the original, with four decorative smoke stacks to mimic the Titanic’s coal powered design. Compared to modern cruise ships, the Titanic II would be small and could only carry 1, 680 passengers. Most cruise liners today cater to more than 2,000 guests.
After the disastrous fate of the original Titanic, I have to wonder who might be crazy enough to push their luck taking a cruise on Palmer’s replica.