It looks like the Titanic, it is meant to feel like the Titanic, but the Australian billionaire who on Tuesday unveiled plans for a successor to the doomed liner is confident his dream will not sink like the Titanic.
At a New York press conference, mining tycoon Clive Palmer said his plan to launch a copy of the Titanic and sail it across the Atlantic would be a tribute to those who built and backed the original ship.
“We will complete the journey. We will sail into New York on the ship they designed,” he said at an event held inside the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, which is now a museum in the city.
However, Palmer refused to be drawn into saying his new ship would be “unsinkable” — and therefore avoided repeating the famous act of hubris made by the backers of the first Titanic.
“Anything will sink if you put a hole in it,” Palmer said of Titanic II, but he joked that due to global warming, the risks of traveling in waters near the Arctic circle had lessened considerably.
“There are not so many icebergs in the north Atlantic these days,” he said.
The four-funneled outline of Titanic II is an almost an exact match with the original, which struck an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in 1912.
Palmer said Titanic II is set to launch in 2016 and will mostly cover the same route from Europe to the US. Already, 40,000 applications have been submitted to be part of the maiden voyage, he said.
Titanic II will have a crew of 900 looking after about 2,435 passengers. Just like the original, the new craft will boast a Turkish baths, a smoking room, a grand staircase and a gymnasium.
It is even split into three different classes, replicating the original vessel, where poor immigrants took steerage, while the highest echelons of Edwardian society enjoyed luxury in first class.
Palmer said he wanted to journey in steerage because that was where the fun people would be traveling.
“I will be in third class. I will enjoy it,” he said.
However, unlike the original, Titanic II will have a modern hospital aboard, a helicopter landing pad, full air-conditioning and access to a high-speed Internet connection.
While the original was built in Belfast, its successor is to be built in China’s Jinling Shipyard.