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Titanic II: Billionaire unveils blueprints

February 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
An Australian billionaire is building a replica of the Titanic, and he has unveiled the ship's blueprints to the public.

Clive Palmer revealed the blueprints for the luxurious Titanic II on Tuesday at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York. He said construction is scheduled to start soon in China.

The famously doomed ship's namesake will follow the same itinerary as the original, setting sail from Southampton, England to New York City. It will have the same layout and interior design as the original, and passengers will wear costumes from that era.

"I'm funding this myself because I want to spend the money I've got before I die, which is a reasonable proposition if you work hard for you know 40 percent, 50 percent of your life, you may as well spend it, not leave it to the kids to spend. There will be enough left for them anyway," Palmer said.

A reported 40,000 people are already registered for the ship's maiden voyage. The Titanic II is set to launch in 2016.

The original Titanic was the world's largest and most luxurious ocean liner when it hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank on April 15, 1912. Only 700 people of the more than 2,200 on board survived the most famous maritime disaster in history, partly because there were not enough lifeboats to carry everyone.

Palmer said climate change, which was an unknown factor when the original ship sailed, may play into a positive for the new ship's fate.

"One of the benefits of global warming is there hasn't been as many icebergs in the North Atlantic these days," Palmer said.

A representative for the Marine design company Deltamarin said while the vessel is modeled after the legendary liner, it will meet modern navigation and safety requirements.

Also, plans call for a new "safety deck" featuring state-of-the-art lifeboats, safety chutes and slides. The new ship will also have amenities unknown a century ago, like air conditioning.

Palmer, who is funding construction of the ship himself, built his fortune in real estate and coal. Australia's BRW magazine estimated his net worth last year at $4 billion, although Forbes puts it at $895 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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