Video: Billionaire plans to build Titanic replica in China
One of the most famous (albeit not most successful) exports from this island is to be rebuilt with a 'Made in China' sticker attached.
An Australian billionaire said yesterday he will build a hi-tech replica of the Titanic at a Chinese shipyard and its maiden voyage in late 2016 will be from England to New York, just like its namesake planned. It is not yet known if the new ship will stop at Cobh, as did its predecessor.
"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," Mr Palmer said.
He called the project "a tribute to the spirit of the men and women who worked on the original."
More than 1,500 people died after the Titanic hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its first voyage. It was the world's largest and most luxurious ocean liner at the time.
'BRW' magazine reported Mr Palmer was Australia's fifth-richest person last year with more than $5bn Australian dollars (€3.9bn).
He said at a news conference that previous attempts to build a Titanic replica failed because proponents failed to raise enough money. The Titanic II is the first of four luxury cruise ships Mr Palmer has commissioned CSC Jinling Shipyard to build.
Mr Palmer did not provide a cost estimate. He said he had established a new shipping company, Blue Star Line, and that design work for the Titanic II had begun with assistance from a historical research team.
The diesel-powered ship will have four smoke stacks like the coal-powered original, but they will be purely decorative. The most obvious changes from the original would be below the water line, including welding rather than rivets, a bulbous bow for greater fuel efficiency and enlarged rudder and bow thrusters, Mr Palmer said.
Brett Jardine, from the International Cruise Council, said Titanic II would be small by modern standards but could prove viable at the top end of the luxury market.
"If you've got a niche, it's going to work," he said.
While the Titanic II would carry around 1,680 passengers, most modern cruise ships carry more than 2,000 passengers.