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A Chinese shipyard has formed a panel and upgraded its facilities to prepare for the construction of a replica of the Titanic for an Australian billionaire.
According to the State-owned CSC Jinling Shipyard Co Ltd in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, it will take three years to build the luxury liner.
The shipyard signed an agreement to build the liner in April with the Australian mining billionaire Clive Palmer.
"The world's leading shipyards and ship design companies, including Finland's Deltamarin, have been invited to join the construction work of Titanic II," said Li Wenbao, spokesman for Jinling Shipyard.
"The liner will be equipped with advanced technologies, including the latest life-saving and communications systems, to meet the requirements of modern navigation," Li said.
He added that the formal construction contract has not yet been signed between the shipyard and Blue Star Line, a wholly owned subsidiary of Palmer's mineralogy company.
The 270-meter-long and 53-meter-high liner will have nine floors and 840 rooms, and be equipped with deluxe cabins, gymnasiums, swimming pools and libraries.
The shipyard said about 900 crew members and 2,400 passengers will get to travel on the liner's maiden voyage, scheduled for 2016, from England to North America, in accordance with Titanic's planned route.
Yang Luxing, a 29-year-old Nanjing resident, said the construction of the liner provides a chance to fulfill her long-cherished dream and that she does not mind how luxurious the liner will be, or how expensive the ticket.
"The important thing is that Titanic suggests a beautiful love story for me, because I watched the movie when I was a teenager," Yang said. "Its voyage, especially the first one, means more than other ships' maiden voyages for many people including me."
The story of Titanic has been well-known in China since 1997, when the James Cameron movie was shown across the country.
On April 15, 1912, Titanic sank off Newfoundland after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York. The accident claimed the lives of 1,523 people.
The Blue Star Line held a news conference in Hong Kong on Saturday introducing the construction work of Titanic II and related promotional activities.
"It's difficult to replicate a luxury liner, but Jinling Shipyard has a history of 60 years of building various kinds of vessels with high quality," Ge Biao, director of the shipyard, was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying in Hong Kong.
"The shipyard has full confidence it can build Titanic II in cooperation with foreign partners," Ge said.
Jinling Shipyard, founded in 1952, is a major shipbuilder with about 3,000 employees and makes vessels for many countries.
Li added that promotional activities will be held in other cities, such as Macao and London.
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(China Daily 02/18/2013 page3)