Aussie billionaire Clive Palmer is another step closer to realizing his dream of building Titanic II — a 21st-century version of the ill-fated cruise ship.
Construction on the Titanic II is due to begin soon, according to media reports, with Palmer announcing that he has hired a ship design and marine engineering company to review plans for the project.
Once Finland-based company Deltamarin has determined that the vessel will be compliant with all current safety and construction regulations, work on the ship will begin at China's CSC Jinling Shipyard, Australia's Fairfax media reported.
According to News.com.au, the ship will be small by modern standards — 270 meters (885 feet) long, 53 meters (173 feet) high and weigh 40,000 tons, with 840 rooms and nine decks.
Palmer said he expected completion of the ship in time for a 2016 launch, the Wall Street Journal reported.
He said his newly formed cruise company had been inundated with expressions of interest in the ship's planned maiden voyage, retracing the original Titanic's intended voyage from Southampton, England to New York.
“More than 20,000 people have registered on Blue Star Line’s website expressing an interest in receiving regular updates from us or requesting information on how to secure bookings for Titanic II’s maiden voyage," he reportedly said.
"Titanic II will be a regular feature on the transatlantic route between the UK and USA," Palmer added, News.com.au reported.
"This magnificent vessel is being constructed in memory of the heroic people who served on the first ship, as well as the passengers who sadly shared their fate."
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