Clive Palmer's dream of building a replica of the ill-fated RMS Titanic appears to be inching forward - at least when it comes to marketing and building buzz.
The 58-year-old Australian businessman was in New York City on Tuesday (Feb. 26) at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum to show off new blueprints for his Titanic II; once more reiterating its planned 2016 launch.
"We all live on this planet, we all breathe the same air and, of course, the Titanic is about the things we've got in common," he said. "It links three continents."
In new renderings shown to the press, Palmer's vessel does indeed look nearly identical to the original, which sank on April 15, 1912 after a collision with an iceberg. Under her early 20th Century costume, however, are modern additions - such as diesel-powered engines, a bulbous bow for greater fuel efficiency, an enlarged rudder and bow thrusters for increased maneuverability, and welding in place of rivets.
Of course, the first thing that comes to anyone's mind is safety - something the design team has made a top priority. According to Markku Kanerva, sales director at Deltamarin, the Finnish company designing the ship, Titanic II will be the "safest cruise ship in the world." What this translates to is space in state-of-the-art lifeboats for everyone on board (the original came up notoriously short), safety chutes, escape staircases, and slides.
Palmer's Blue Star Line has contracted the Chinese state-owned CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the vessel - though nothing is necessarily official yet.
"Oh, probably next week, something like that," He told Reuters, when asked when the contracts would be signed. "Most things I say I'll do I do."
Estimates peg the Titanic II at costing somewhere around $500M, but Palmer - who Forbes believes has a fortune of about $795 million - doesn't see the high cost as a problem.
"It's not about the money," he said. "I've got enough money for it, I think that's all that matters."
More than 40,000 people have signed up on the Blue Star Line website expressing interest in the project and future bookings. Should all go according to plan, the Titanic II will take the same maiden voyage of the original vessel from Southampton, England, to New York. Ticket details have yet to be released.
Check out computer-generated video the Titanic II in motion via "The Today Show" below.