April 30 - Mining and tourism magnate, Clive Palmer, launches venture to build a 21st Century Titanic, and his political career. Joanne Nicholson reports.
Commemorations to mark a hundred years since the Titanic sank, have been plentiful lately. But none have been on as grand a scale as the idea of one Australian billionaire businessman. Clive Palmer, a tourism and mining magnate from Queensland, plans to build a 21st century version of the ill-fated vessel. (SOUNDBITE)(English) AUSTRALIAN MINING AND TOURISM BILLIONAIRE CLIVE PALMER SAYING: "We think it will be a great achievement, it'll also be a great tribute to the people who designed the original Titanic. It was certainly their intention that their work and the skills and their endeavours survived into the future and we think we've got a vested interest in ensuring that it survives into the next century. The ship will be constructed other than from the technology, the bow line, on the same plans as the original ship as far as layouts go, room decor and finish so people will be able to realise what sort of luxury and what was around in 2012." Some may be too superstitious to sail in identical surroundings to the 1500 who died when their ship hit an iceberg in 1912. But Palmer reckons there will be interest because there was a surge in cruising after the James Cameron movie came out 15 years ago. He's now hooked up with the Chinese state-owned company CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the liner. He hopes it will be ready for a maiden voyage from England to North America - the original route - in 2016. Palmer's newly formed company, the Blue Star Line, isn't his only new project - he's also announced his intention to stand in a federal election for the seat held by Australia's deputy Prime Minister. Some might say that's a challenge of even more titanic proportions. Joanne Nicholson, Reuters