Canberra, Australia. An Australian billionaire said on Monday that he will create a high-tech replica of the Titanic using a Chinese shipbuilder, and that its maiden voyage in late 2016 will be from England to New York, just like the original.
Weeks after the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the original Titanic, Clive Palmer announced that he has signed a memorandum of understanding with state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the Titanic II.
“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.”
More than 1,500 people died after the Titanic hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its first voyage. It was the world’s largest and most luxurious ocean liner at the time.
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, 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.
Palmer, 58, also said that he hoped to run for Parliament for the conservative opposition, which opinion polls suggest will win government next year.
Palmer said he would seek the Liberal National Party’s candidacy for the electoral district held by Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan since 1998.
“Politics is about ideas,” he told reporters. “You are not going to become rich being a politician.”
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 5 billion Australian dollars ($5.2 billion).