Australian Billionaire to Build Titanic II

An Australian billionaire announces plans to build a high-tech replica of the famed but doomed luxury cruise liner, the Titanic.

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Chana Ya'ar,

Poster commemorating 100th anniversary of Tit
Poster commemorating 100th anniversary of Tit

An Australian billionaire says he plans to build a high-tech replica of the famed – and doomed -- luxury cruise liner, the Titanic.

Clive Palmer launched the project Monday at a Chinese shipyard with a maiden voyage from England to New York slated for 2016.

He revealed his plan just after the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the original Titanic. "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 Titanic II 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 - the world's largest luxury ocean liner at the time - hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its own maiden voyage, also from England to New York.

Palmer is Australia's fifth wealthiest person with a net worth of more that $5 billion Australian dollars. He built a fortune on real estate on Australia's Gold Coast tourist strip before becoming a coal mining magnate.

Titanic II is the first of four luxury cruise ships Palmer has commissioned CSC Jinling Shipyard to build. For the endeavor, Palmer established a new shipping company, Blue Star Line Pty. Ltd.

The design work for the Titanic II was begun with assistance from a historical research team. The diesel-powered ship will reportedly have four decorative smoke stacks like the coal-powered original.

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.

Titanic II is planned to carry around 1,680 passengers. Most modern cruise ships create economies of scale by catering for more than 2,000 passengers.