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Sun 30 Aug 2015 09:48 AM

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Exclusive: Plans for Titanic replica ship to be delayed two years

Titanic II Australian backers claim UAE firms were in talks for partnerships, to bring the ship to Dubai during maiden voyage

Exclusive: Plans for Titanic replica ship to be delayed two years

Australian businessman Clive Palmer’s plans to build a replica of the infamous Titanic cruise liner have been delayed by at least two years, his spokesperson confirmed to Arabian Business.

A representative from Blue Star Line, the company behind the project and which is being backed by Palmer, told Arabian Business in July 2013 construction would be completed by 2016.

However, a spokesperson for Palmer this week confirmed “the project has been pushed back and the new planned launch date will be late 2018.”

Click here to see plans for the Titanic II ship

Talks were also underway in 2013 between Palmer and a number of UAE companies for partnership deals in his Titanic II project and at the possibility of bringing the ship to Dubai during its maiden voyage.

“We have had a number of companies - large companies actually from the Emirates - we are in active discussions with that are looking at opportunities to utilise the Titanic II name and encourage the ship to come to the UAE to show it off to people there,” James McDonald, global marketing director of Blue Star Line, confirmed in a 2013 interview from its base in Brisbane.

Palmer originally announced plans to build a replica of the infamous ship in April 2012. Ten days later, the eccentric millionaire, whose projects have also included plans to build a Jurassic Park-style theme park full of animatronic dinosaurs, signed a deal with the Chinese shipyard CSC Jinling.

During the maiden voyage, plans were floated to replicate the voyage of the original Titanic from Southampton to Cherbourg and then from Ireland on to New York.

McDonald also claimed a number of UAE firmed had contacted Blue Star to become partners in the project and avail of the licencing opportunities available.

“We are not looking for investment as it is a project we are funding ourselves but yes we have been in contact with a number of companies based in the Emirates who are looking at utilising opportunities that arises with the project and the massive exposure it has generated.

“It is people looking to use the opportunity of the trademark and licencing potential of the project... We own the Titanic II name and trademark and people are lining up to be part of it.”

Blue Star has held events to publicise the project in the US, Canada, Asia and the UK and more events are planned throughout the year. “We have one coming up in Australia on the 11, 12 and 13 of August and then we have a plan of events into next year,” McDonald said.

A total of 1,502 people were killed when the ocean liner was struck by a iceburg and sank on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic on April 15 1912. While some relatives of passengers who died on the ship have condemned the move to build a replica as insensitive, McDonald said the project had received a very favourable response.

Interest in the ship peaked in 1997 following the success of the Titanic Hollywood movie, which was directed by James Cameron and starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The film went on to earn $1.84 billion and was the most successful movie ever until 2009.

The Titanic was infamously deemed unsinkable by its owners when it was launched in 1912, but Palmer has put his reputation on the line by declaring his Titanic II replica “will be the safest cruise ship in the world”. McDonald confirmed Titanic II will have some obvious improvements to make it ship worthy to set sale.

“We are four metres wider due to extra stability and changed to the hull and welded not riveting. We have modern evacuations procedures, satellite controls, navigations and radar and all those modern things you’d expect on a 21 century ship.”

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