Australian billionaire to build Titanic II

One of Australia's richest men, Clive Palmer, has unveiled plans for a 21st century version of the Titanic to be built in China, with its first voyage from England to New York set for 2016.

Palmer, a self-made mining billionaire, said he has commissioned state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to construct Titanic II with exactly the same dimensions as its predecessor.

"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," Palmer said in a statement, released on Monday.

"Titanic II will sail in the northern hemisphere and her maiden voyage from England to North America is scheduled for late 2016.

"We have invited the Chinese navy to escort Titanic II on its maiden voyage to New York."

His announcement comes just weeks after the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic, which went down on April 15, 1912 after striking an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

Palmer said the new ship would be a tribute to the spirit of the men and women who worked on the original.

"These people produced work that is still marvelled at more than 100 years later and we want that spirit to go on for another 100 years," he said.

Titanic was commissioned by White Star Line and was the largest liner in the world at the time.

Palmer said he has established his own shipping company, Blue Star Line, with the new ship having the same dimensions as its predecessor, with 840 rooms and nine decks.

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