HALIFAX – Australian billionaire Clive Palmer is aiming to make history. Though it may be more accurate to say he's remaking history.
The wealthy businessman is funding the construction of Titanic II, a luxury cruise ship that is nearly identical to the original ill-fated Titanic of 1912. Safety features, such as adequate lifeboats and radar, have been brought to 21st century standards.
Other than that, the ship is virtually the same on the exterior and interior, including four funnels, the grand staircase and three separate classes for passengers. Those onboard will even have the option to don clothing from 1912, made available in each stateroom.
The blueprints were unveiled in Halifax yesterday to the media, dignitaries, leading business people and Titanic enthusiasts at a gala breakfast at the Lord Nelson Hotel. The Blue Star Line, which owns Titanic II, said the stop in Halifax was to pay tribute to those passengers whose final resting place is in the city.
“Halifax is an important city in the Titanic story and we’re just continuing that on,” said James McDonald, global marketing director of Blue Star Lines. “One day the ship will come here. When it will come here, we’re not sure yet, but it’s a no-brainer to come here at some stage.”
The Halifax breakfast is one of a series of global events highlighting the upcoming launch of Titanic II. Palmer was scheduled to attend but was not present for the Halifax event.
“Titanic was a ship of dreams and Titanic II will be a ship of dreams come true,” a press release read. “More than 100 years after Halifax played a pivotal role in the RMS Titanic’s rescue and recovery mission, the plans for a twenty-first century ship, Titanic II, have arrived at the Nova Scotian city.”
The ship is scheduled to set sail in 2016 and will follow the ship’s original path from Southampton, England, to New York City. The vessel is being designed by Finnish-based Deltamarin and built in China by CSC Jingling Shipyard.
Palmer, one of Australia’s wealthiest and more eccentric business leaders, has made his fortune in mining, resorts, golf courses and horse racing. He is personally funding the Titanic II endeavour, whose final cost has not been released at this time.
According to Blue Star Lines, there is worldwide interest in the ship. “We’ve had over 40,000 register for interest in the maiden voyage,” McDonald said. Some have even offered up to $1 million for a ticket on the vessel’s maiden voyage.
Palmer announced the project in April 2012 on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster in 1912.
The RMS Titanic was, at the time of its launch, the largest ship in the world. The vessel struck an iceberg during the maiden voyage and sank, taking over 1,500 to their icy grave. Among the passengers were socialites, business leaders and some of the wealthiest people in the world.