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Australian billionaire to build Titanic replica

By Peter Shadbolt, CNN
May 2, 2012 -- Updated 1028 GMT (1828 HKT)
Rare original deck chair from Titanic, the signature artifact of the permanent Titanic exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
Rare original deck chair from Titanic, the signature artifact of the permanent Titanic exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An Australian mining magnate plans to build a replica of the Titanic
  • Construction is to begin next year in a Chinese shipyard
  • He says the ship will be every bit as luxurious as the original
  • The Titanic sank in 1912 on its maiden voyage, leaving more than 1,500 dead

(CNN) -- An Australian mining magnate has commissioned a Chinese shipyard to build a replica of the ill-fated Titanic, complete in every detail but equipped with modern technology to prevent a repeat of the original's fateful maiden voyage 100 years ago.

Clive Palmer, a Queensland mining billionaire with strong links to China, told Australian media that he had signed a memorandum of understanding with CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the ship.

He said construction of the luxury cruise ship would begin next year and the ship would be ready to sail in 2016.

"It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic but of course it will have state-of-the-art 21st century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems," he said in a statement.

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The new vessel is due to make its maiden voyage from London to New York in late 2016. The cost of the construction of the new vessel has not been revealed, a spokesman for Palmer told Australian media.

"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.''

The original Titanic -- the largest ship of its type at the time -- sank 100 years ago this month when it struck an iceberg on the night of April 15, 1912, on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York. More than 1,500 people perished in the disaster, which captured the popular imagination. The ship had been vaunted as "unsinkable."

The mining magnate from Queensland owns a luxury resort on Australia's Sunshine Coast and plans to build a fleet of luxury liners.

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