This may be an unbelievably sound investment on the part of a very wealthy man, but all the same it smacks of profiteering from the greatest maritime tragedy the world has ever known
In what has to be seen as the most outrageous- and perhaps ethically questionable expensive stunt of the century to date - an Australian billionaire with a scent for news has ordered an exact replica of the Titanic from a Chinese.
The mining giant - at least in terms of ego - Clive Palmer, also proclaimed proudly that his luxury replica cruise ship will have exactly the same dimensions as the original, but ill-fated Titanic, which a century ago sank on its maiden voyage. Palmer claims that many have attempted the feat previously, but never had enough funds to complete.
Palmer wants state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the huge vessel, though unlike the miniature Titanic II - a tiny pleasure craft that also sank on the maiden voyage in a UK harbour last year - this latest vessel to bear the fateful name - latest navigation and safety systems naturally included - will sail around the northern hemisphere, maiden England to North America voyage scheduled for late 2016.
This re-build, it is claimed, is seen by the billionaire as a tribute to those who built the original Titanic, which hit an iceberg on April 15, 1912 and at the cost of the lives of 1,514 passengers and crew, sank despite her unsinkable reputation. Not that this fate is in any way anticipated for the new ship
Designed as a modern ship, stuffed to the brim with all the technology, the new Titanic, will have 840 rooms, nine decks, housing, amongst other things, an internet room. a restaurant, a theatre and more, the maiden voyage to be given an extra edge by a Chinese navy vessel, by invitation, escorting Titanic II from the UK to New York.
There will, sadly, not be any smoke issuing from the 65ft funnels - four of them - which, due to modern propulsion systems will be purely decorative, used to give the vessel her iconic look - it is worth noting that Titanic film director James Cameron had his scenery team build a 90% scale replica of the ship, including those four huge funnels , which was so massive that a specially built studio was constructed for it in Baha, Mexico.
This may be an unbelievably sound investment on the part of a very wealthy man, but all the same it smacks of profiteering from the greatest maritime tragedy the world has ever known, leaving a foul taste in the mouth. Some things, I think, are best left alone, and the cursed Titanic is definitely one of them.