Clive Palmer, one of Australia’s richest men, has commissioned a Chinese state-owned company to build a 21st Century version of the Titanic. The mining billionaire told Australian media that construction would start at the end of next year and be ready to set sail in 2016.
The vessel is to be as similar as possible to the original Titanic in design and specifications, but with modern technology with CSC Jinling Shipyard contracted to build the ship.
“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 in a statement. The announcement comes just after the 100yr centenary of the sinking of the ill-fated Titanic. The vessel, the largest luxury ship in its time, struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York and sank on the 15th April 1912, leaving more than 1,500 people dead.
“Of course it will sink if you put a hole in it,” Mr Palmer said in response to questions from reporters on whether the Titanic replica would sink.“It is going to be designed so it won’t sink,” he added. ”But, of course, if you are superstitious, you never know what could happen.”
The mining magnate from Queensland, who has strong business relations with China, has expanded into tourism. He owns a luxury resort on the Sunshine Coast and has plans to build a fleet of luxury liners. His plan to build the Titanic replica was announced on the same day that he revealed plans, in a separate news conference, to contest the next federal election in Queensland. He told reporters that he has expressed interest in standing for Queensland’s Liberal National Party (LNP), part of the conservative opposition at federal level, in the Brisbane seat of Lilley – currently held by Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan.
The new vessel is scheduled to sail from London to New York in late 2016, if all goes as planned.
Why would somebody want to rebuild the Titanic ?
1. Remaking History: The most obvious reason to rebuild an updated replica of the Titanic is simply to reclaim the great ship from the mishaps of history.
2. Raising the Asia Pacific: The combination of an Australian funding a Chinese-made version of the (short-lived) triumph of the early 20th century UK shipbuilding industry in the 21st century is a potent symbol of the rise of the Asia Pacific as an economic power.
3. Journey to the Past: There is also something of the re-enactment about this project. Like in Jack Finney’s famous time-travel novel, Time and Again, there is a sense that if we recreate the physical details of the past we can reenter an historical period.
4. Centennial Madness: Perhaps between the release of James Cameron’s Titanic in 3-D, the opening of the Titanic Belfast museum, and a ton of BBC coverage this month just has the RMS engraved in Palmer’s mind.
5. Because I Can: But when you get right down to it, Clive Palmer er is attracted to the project because he believes he will have the means to fund it. His fortune has been estimated at $5.3 billion in BRW magazine’s rankings, but Forbes listed him at only $795 million on this year’s Rich List. Wealth alone, whether millions or billions, doesn’t guarantee that the new Titanic will make the self-imposed 2016 deadline for its maiden voyage.Bloomberg quotes Hur Sung Duck, an analyst at HI Investment & Securities Co. in Seoul as saying, “That’s a huge jump for a country that builds mostly bulk ships [used for carrying coal, iron ore and grains]. I seriously find it difficult to believe it can be built by that time.”