Queensland billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer has unveiled his plans to build the Titanic II to add to his tourism portfolio.
Mr Palmer said his new company Blue Star Line Pty Ltd had commissioned the state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to build a near replica of the ill-fated Titanic. The cost is unknown.
He made the announcement on the same day he revealed his hopes to contest the next federal election in the Queensland seat of Lilley, held by Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan.
Mr Palmer said the companies had signed a memorandum of understanding to build the cruise liner in China, with the ship’s maiden voyage from England to North America scheduled for late 2016.
“It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic but of course it will have state-of-the-art 21st-century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems,” Mr Palmer said.
Mr Palmer said the rebuild was a tribute to the spirit of the men and women who constructed the original Titanic.
“These people produced work that is still marvelled at more than 100 years later and we want that spirit to go on for another 100 years,” he said.
The Titanic was commissioned by the company White Star Line and was the world’s largest liner, measuring nearly 270 metres long, 53 metres high and weighing approximately 40,000 tonnes.
It sank in 1912, killing more than 1500 passengers and crew.
Asked today if the Titanic II could sink, Mr Palmer told reporters: “Of course it will sink if you put a hole in it.
He added: “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.”
A spokesman for Mr Palmer said the cost of the project was unknown.
“A final budget hasn’t been set and I don’t think he’ll reveal the price to be honest,” the spokesman said.
He said the design of the new Titanic would be as close to the original as possible but would have “state of the art engineering” and would run on diesel rather than coal power.
“The technology will be 100 years improved,” the spokesman said.
Mr Palmer said a historical research team was involved in the design of the Titanic II, which would have the same dimensions as its predecessor, with 840 rooms and nine decks.
The only differences would be found below the water line, he said, and would include a bulbous bow for greater fuel efficiency and diesel generation, and an enlarged rudder and bow thrusters for improved manoeuvrability.
“Titanic II will be the ultimate in comfort and luxury with on-board gymnasiums and swimming pools, libraries, high class restaurants and luxury cabins,” Mr Palmer said.
He said the new ship would also include an exhibition room, located in the space of the old coal boilers, which will showcase Queensland and its abundance of opportunities to international passengers.
The Chinese navy has been invited to escort the Titanic II on its maiden voyage across the northern hemisphere from England to New York, he said.
Mr Palmer owns the Sunshine Coast’s Coolum Golf and Spa Resort, and the Gold Coast’s Robina Woods and Colonial golf courses.