Oz Billionaire To Build Working Titanic Replica
A flamboyant Australian billionaire has ordered a shipyard in China to build him an exact replica of the Titanic.
Mining magnate Clive Palmer has announced the luxury cruise ship will have the same dimensions as the original Titanic which sank on its maiden voyage 100 years ago.
"Many people have attempted to do it before but have failed because they didn't have the money to pay for it," Mr Palmer told reporters in Brisbane.
"We've got the money, we've got the shipyard and we're moving very heavily to commence construction to bring this ship into service."
Mr Palmer wants the ship to be built by state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard.
With the latest navigation and safety systems, Titanic II will sail in the northern hemisphere, with her maiden voyage from England to North America scheduled for late 2016.
Mr Palmer said the rebuild was a tribute to the spirit of the men and women who worked on the original Titanic, which sank after hitting an iceberg on April 15, 1912 and cost the lives of 1,514 passengers and crew.
Asked if the ship could sink, Mr Palmer told reporters: "Of course it will sink if you put a hole in it. It is going to be designed so it won't sink. It will be designed as a modern ship with all the technology to ensure that doesn't happen.
"But of course if you are superstitious like you are, you never know what could happen."
The businessman said design work in conjunction with a historical research team had commenced on the new Titanic, which will have 840 rooms and nine decks.
The Chinese navy has been invited to escort Titanic II on its maiden voyage to New York.
Mr Palmer said the ship's funnels, which with modern propulsion would be purely decorative, and would be used to house a restaurant, a theatre and an "internet room".
With perhaps unfortunate timing, the businessman chose the news conference to also announce he is launching a political career in Australia.
He wants to stand against the Treasurer of the current government, Wayne Swan, at the next election.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott says the mining mogul did not speak to him before announcing his decision to get involved in politics.
"I was as surprised as you were to hear the news," Mr Abbott told Macquarie Radio. "Good luck to him," Mr Abbott added.
"If there's anyone in Australia who can successfully run for parliament and at the same time build a replica of the Titanic, it's Clive."
:: Titanic film director James Cameron built a replica of the ship to 90% of the full scale, including the four 65ft funnels.
No film studio was big enough to house it so one had to be specially built in Baha, Mexico.