AN Australian billionaire today insisted his plans to build a replica Titanic are not motivated by money.
Mining magnate Professor Clive Palmer, who wants his Titanic II passenger liner to sail from Southampton to New York in just three years, rubbished claims that the vision is a publicity stunt.
At a press conference at the Ritz hotel in central London, he said: "Money wasn't my primary consideration for this."
He then joked with journalists: "But it looks like, unfortunately, I'll make a lot of money out of it!"
The Queensland businessman's plans have been questioned by critics, who say the Titanic II project will never be a reality and Prof Palmer is simply trying to create headlines.
Asked what he thought of the sceptical reports, he said: "Well, I'd just say it's bulls**t really.
"We're building four ships now bigger than the Titanic at the shipyard.
"I'm not somebody with no money. I've got enough money to build the Titanic ten times over if I wanted.
"So, there's no need for publicity. I'm trying to avoid the media if I can."
At 883ft (269m) the Titanic II will be three inches longer than the original.
It will have a total of 835 first, second and third class cabins and will be able to carry 2,435 passengers and 900 crew.
Mr Palmer said he wanted passengers to experience what it was like in 1912 - the year when the Titanic struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage and more than 1,500 died.
The new ship will be a mix of modern technology and original designs, but Prof Palmer insisted there will be no internet connection, so people would have to speak to each other rather than be checking their emails and Twitter accounts.
More than 500 Britons perished in the collision on April 15, 1912, and critics of the project have suggested the Titanic II project is in bad taste.
But Mr Palmer said his vessel would honour the dead, and stop them from being forgotten.
"Titanic II, for us, is a great monument to all the British seamen who have gone to sea from Southampton or from other ports in England throughout the world," he said.
All of them have given great service to their country and created a greater understanding between nations."
He said the ship will "pay tribute" to those who died.
"It's very fitting that that work is remembered, and also it's very important that we look at the Titanic story," he told journalists.
"That we look at it in a positive way - the courage of the seamen, the fact that the story really opened up shipping in a new century for a whole new way of operating.
"Ships today wouldn't be as safe if we didn't have a Titanic. So we've learned from that.
"And it's fitting that 100 years later we are mature enough to pay tribute to those people.
"Why should we forget those 500 seamen in Southampton?
"Well, I don't think we should.
"Why shouldn't we hail their bravery and what they've done?"