Tue, May 01, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Australian magnate plans Titanic II

AP and AFP, CANBERRA and SYDNEY

A handout picture from Southampton City Council shows the Titanic leaving Southampton on her ill-fated maiden voyage on April 10, 1912.

Photo: AFP / SOUTHAMPTON CITY COUNCIL

An Australian billionaire said yesterday he would create a high-tech replica of the Titanic using a Chinese shipbuilder, and that its maiden voyage in late 2016 will be from England to New York, just like the original.

Weeks after the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the original Titanic, Clive Palmer announced yesterday he has signed a memorandum of understanding with state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the Titanic II.

“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,” Palmer said in a statement.

He called the project “a tribute to the spirit of the men and women who worked on the original Titanic.”

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.

Palmer built a fortune in real estate on Australia’s Gold Coast tourist strip before becoming a coal mining magnate. BRW magazine reported he was Australia’s fifth-richest person last year with an estimated fortune of more than A$5 billion (US$5.2 billion).

Meanwhile, Palmer said yesterday he hopes to run against Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan in national elections, escalating a fiery war-of-words between the government and the outspoken mogul.

Palmer, a leading critic of the center-left Labor government of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, said he would enter politics to challenge Swan in his Queensland seat of Lilley in polls due next year.

“I intend to put to the test to the people of this country my views against the treasurer in his home seat of Lilley,” Palmer told reporters. “He has been the sitting member for far too long. It’s about time we get this country moving again.”

Swan has in recent weeks rounded on Palmer and fellow mining heavyweights Gina Rinehart and Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, blaming “vested interests” of the rich for threatening Australian democracy.

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