Same design, happier ending. We hope.
Australian billionaire Clive Palmer plans to build a fully functional replica of the Titanic — not just a model or a movie set, but a real working cruise ship. Palmer says he’s commissioned the Chinese CSC Jinling Shipyard to design and construct the ship.
“Many people have attempted to do it before but have failed because they didn’t have the buy-in of a shipyard and didn’t have the money to pay for it,” said Palmer, who made his money about as far from the ocean as you can get — in mining. Palmer expects the ship to embark on her maiden voyage sometime in 2016, after the Chinese navy escorts her to Britain. From there, she’ll begin making transatlantic crossings, supposedly by a more southern route than her ill-fated namesake.
Palmer’s not so brash as J. Bruce Ismay, managing director of the White Star Line, the original Titanic’s owner. Ismay was among those who declared the ship unsinkable. When she sank, he took to the boats.
“Of course, it will sink if you put a hole in it,” Palmer said at a press conference. “It is going to be designed so it won’t sink. But, of course, if you are superstitious like you are, you never know what could happen.”
On first blush, this endeavor seems somewhere between nutty and cool. For those who might think Palmer’s a crackpot with money, he’s taken pretty seriously Down Under. In March he was named a National Living Treasure by the National Trust of Australia.
OK, I’m being a little flip here. Truth is, I’m already thinking about vacation, 2016.