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The billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer has vowed to build a vessel “far, far superior than the original” as he unveiled designs for his Titanic II project – again.
Palmer hired a room at Sydney Opera House on Wednesday to let the world know his vision of building a to-scale replica of the doomed ocean liner would finally come to be.

Yet after distributing a press release to journalists in which he promised his company Blue Star Line would construct “the ship of love and the ultimate in style and luxury”, Palmer acknowledged he hadn’t yet secured a shipyard.

It was almost 10 years to the day since Palmer held a very similar press conference at London’s Ritz Hotel to “launch” his Titanic II dream. Asked by a reporter at that event if the project was a hoax or a publicity stunt, Palmer said that was “bullshit, really” and he had “enough money to build the Titanic 10 times over”.

Since then, Palmer has served a term as a federal MP, deregistered and then revived a political party and spent millions of dollars on various legal challenges, tourism ventures and expensive election campaigns.

Work on the Titanic II was suspended in 2015 after a payment dispute between one of Palmer’s companies and the Chinese company Citic starved it of funds. Palmer re-announced the project in 2018 with a proposed sail date of 2022.

On Wednesday, Palmer blamed the Covid pandemic for the delays. He said people should believe him this time because “I’ve got more money now”.
Palmer, who turns 70 later this month, stood in front of Sydney Harbour and suggested he could die having “done nothing”. “So I could do the Titanic. I’m gonna do it,” he said. “It’s a lot more fun to do the Titanic than it is to sit at home and count my money. “All you need to be happy, I’ve found in my life, is to have someone that loves you, somewhere to sleep at night and enough for a good meal. “Beyond that, the rest is an illusion – it’s like playing golf.”

Palmer said he was confident he could secure a shipyard in time for construction on the vessel start early next year, with the ship’s maiden voyage from Southampton to New York – replicating the ill-fated 1912 voyage of the original – scheduled for June 2027. He said tenders for construction would go out in June, with contracts signed by December. He estimated the 56,000-tonne ship would cost between $500m and $1bn.

The Finnish-based ship design and marine engineering company Deltamarin was among the companies that supported the project, Palmer said. While there was no real ship in sight – at least, not yet – journalists were shown a five-minute video of detailed 3D renders of what all nine decks of the Titanic II would look like.

Palmer said he was bringing in some of “the best designers in the world for cruise shipping”. The ship would have the same interiors and cabin layout as the original vessel, complete with a ballroom, swimming pool and Turkish baths. Set to Johann Strauss’s The Blue Danube and featuring CGI animations of people dressed in period attire from the early 1900s, the video detailed the ship’s technical specifications, including a “Lifeboat Overview”.

The real RMS Titanic struck an iceberg partway through its maiden voyage across the Atlantic and sank on 15 April 1912, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 1,500 passengers and crew.

The story was mythologised with the release of James Cameron’s hit romantic film in 1997 starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as star-crossed lovers Jack and Rose.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday, Palmer said Jack and Rose’s love story was “one that touches the hearts of everybody”. “The Titanic [II] we hope can act as a catalyst to reinvigorate some of those values that we’ve got, which will hopefully lead to peace.”


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