Titanic-Obsessed Billionaire Wants to Build Replica With One Key Difference: Iceberg Detection Systems

  • Australian billionaire Clive Palmer always dreamed of traveling on the Titanic, so he's decided to build a replica.

  • The colossal steel ship could weigh up to 56,000 tons and cost between $500 million and $1 billion to build.

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One of the first things billionaires do with their buckets of money is simple: buy a superyacht. It makes sense, really. The superyacht allows them to travel the sea with the convenience and opulence of a private five-star hotel. However, some billionaires take their ambitions to the next level. Instead of settling for a $500 million superyacht like Jeff Bezos, they aspire to build their own luxury cruise ship.

Take Australian billionaire Clive Palmer, for example. In the 1980s, Palmer made a fortune by investing in Australia’s Gold Coast real estate and later started focusing nickel mining. According to The Telegraph, Palmer now claims to have enough money to make his dream of sailing the Titanic come true. He has expressed his desire to build an exact replica of the so-called “Ship of Dream" with one key difference: the addition of cutting-edge radar technology to detect icebergs.

The Titanic II to Set Sail Again

In cinema, some say no sequel is as good as the original. This might also explain why, since the tragic sinking of the Titanic in 1912, no one has attempted to build an ultra-luxury cruise ship similar to the famous British ocean liner.

However, Palmer is determined to make his dream of building a Titanic replica a reality. Back in March, he rented a room at the Sydney Opera House and announced his intention to build the modern-day replica.

This isn't the first time Palmer's talked publicly about building a new Titanic. In 2012—the year that marked the 100th anniversary of the ship's demise—the billionaire announced his plans to build a replica. In 2018, he tried to do so again. Looking back on those two attempts, it appears that a lack of investment was what hindered the construction of the new vessel.

According to The Guardian, Palmer’s financial situation has improved considerably since 2018, and he’s now able to pursue the project. “I’ve got more money now,” Palmer stated, adding: “It’s a lot more fun to do the Titanic than it is to sit at home and count my money.”

A Trip Back to the Golden Age of Luxury Cruises

At the presentation event, the Australian businessman said that he wants the Titanic II is set to be more than a vessel. As told by Palmer, the new ship will act as a time machine that will transport passengers back to the golden age of transatlantic travel, as well as the luxury and glamour of the early 20th century.

Palmer owns Blue Star Line, a cruise line, and hopes to include the new ship in the company's fleet to offer a nostalgic experience of early 20th-century luxury travel. As such, the ship is intended to be as detailed a replica of the popular ocean liner as possible. The billionaire aims for the ship to have the famous central staircase, crystal chandeliers, mahogany coffered ceilings, and paneling inlaid with mother-of-pearl. The Titanic II will also have the original's lavishly decorated casinos, theaters, and ballrooms with gold trim.

The new ship will feature 835 cabins, including 383 first-class, 201 second-class, and 251 third-class cabins, all designed to match the original liner. It has been designed to accommodate up to 2,435 passengers. As far as size goes, the plan is for the Titanic II to be 833 feet long and 105 feet wide, a close tribute to the design of the original Titanic, which measured 883 feet long and 92 feet wide.

The Titanic II will also be built in the iconic silhouette of the original ship, including its four large smokestacks. However, instead of the original propulsion system, the new ship will feature a state-of-the-art diesel engine, which Palmer says will be more efficient. “We are bringing in some of the best designers in the world for cruise shipping to make sure nothing is overlooked and we have a specification that is far, far superior than the original Titanic,” Palmer said.

Unlike the original Titanic, the replica will prioritize safety like never before to avoid a tragic end. The new design will include the latest navigation system technology, which Palmer says will reduce the risk of hitting any icebergs.

The Goal: Sailing the Titanic 112 Years Later

The Australian billionaire states that the Titanic II is scheduled to set sail in June 2027. However, Palmer has not yet decided on the shipyard where the massive 56,000-ton vessel will be built. The cost of the project is estimated to be between $500 million to $1 billion, a conservative figure granted that the cost of some of today’s cruise ships can exceed $2 billion and take around 30 months to build.

Forbes reports that the wealthy Australian businessman has an estimated fortune of $4.3 billion, indicating that he could afford to fund the project on his own. In Palmer's own words, he has “enough money to build the Titanic ten times over.” However, for this ambitious project, he has sought the support of a group of investors who specialize in cruise ships.

Image | Wikimedia Commons

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