Plans to build a replica of the Titanic that will make its maiden voyage from the UK to New York in 2016 have been unveiled by an Australian billionaire.
Clive Palmer said he had commissioned state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to construct Titanic II with the same dimensions as its predecessor.
He has established his own shipping company, Blue Star Line, with the new vessel having the same specifications as its predecessor - 270 meters long, 53 meters high and weighing some 40,000 tons.
It will have 840 cabins and nine decks with design work in conjunction with an historical research team underway. No figure was given on how much it would cost.
The only changes to the original would be below the water line including welding and not riveting, a bulbous bow for greater fuel efficiency, diesel generation and enlarged rudder and bow thrusters for increased maneuverability.
Palmer said in a statement: "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.
"Titanic II will sail in the northern hemisphere and her maiden voyage from England to North America is scheduled for late 2016."
Palmer said the new ship would be a tribute to the spirit of the men and women who worked on the original, which sank 100 years ago with the loss of 1,514 passengers and crew.
Titanic was commissioned by White Star Line and was the largest liner in the world at the time.
"Titanic II will be the ultimate in comfort and luxury with on-board gymnasiums and swimming pools, libraries, high-class restaurants and luxury cabins," Palmer said.
"The Chinese are renowned for building commercial cargo and container ships.
"China currently produces around 2% to 3% of the world's luxury ships but is looking to challenge the Europeans who have around 75% of this market.
"The Chinese ship-building industry with our assistance wants to be a major player in this market."
Palmer is estimated to be Australia's fifth richest person, worth more than A$5 billion through coal and other mining assets in Queensland and Western Australia.
He has also branched out into tourism and owns the luxury Coolum resort on Australia’s Sunshine Coast.
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