- (Photo: REUTERS/Christie's/File)
An Australian businessman is building a grand new luxury ship that is modeled after the original Titanic, and the project is currently planned to be completed within four years.
Although it has not been given an official name as yet, many are calling the ship the 21st century version of the Titanic, or Titanic II, and according to Bloomberg.com, the vessel will have almost the same dimensions as its famous predecessor that sank on April 15, 1912, killing more than 1,500 people on board. Titanic II will also measure around 880 feet wide, and will have 840 rooms stacked up on nine decks.
Clive Palmer, who is one of Australia's richest men with a fortune of around $5.3 billion dollars, insisted that the only real difference between the ships is that the new one will be equipped with the latest technology and potentially be safer.
"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," Palmer said in a statement, and added, when asked about whether it can sink or not: "Of course it will sink if you put a hole in it.''
Palmer's fortune includes hotels, coal and iron mining projects, golf courses, a soccer team and more, but his new project will cost a significant chunk of his money – the full price of the ship has not yet been determined, but some experts are putting the price tag at half a billion dollars.
"You're starting from scratch with no experience," said Greg Johnson, an analyst with Shore Capital, an investment group in London. "A $500 million punt is quite sizable."
The businessman has signed an agreement with a Chinese company called CSC Jinling Shipyard to construct the ship. Plamer hopes to have the Titanic II completed and ready for its first voyage in 2016. Current plans are to have Titanic II sail from England to New York, following much of the the same route the original ship took in 2016.
"It is going to be designed so it won't sink,'' explained Palmer, who will also be entering politics and standing for Queensland's Liberal National Party (LNP). ''But, of course, if you are superstitious like you are, you never know what could happen.''