Full steam ahead, again, for Palmer’s Titanic dream

Maeve Bannister |

Queensland mining magnate Clive Palmer poses after relaunching plans to build the Titanic II.
Queensland mining magnate Clive Palmer poses after relaunching plans to build the Titanic II.

Clive Palmer refuses to let his dream of building a Titanic replica sink without a trace, relaunching his plan to recreate the ill-fated cruise a decade after taking the concept on its maiden voyage.

The soon-to-be septuagenarian has declared “Titanic II” is not dead in the water, calling a press conference to reveal he has “re-engaged” with shipbuilders, designers and engineers to bring the dream into reality.

The colourful Queensland mining magnate and one-time senator first announced the project in 2013, but he says it has since been plagued by multiple, unforeseen delays.

“There were a lot of things we didn’t appreciate when we first launched the project,” he told media gathered at the Sydney Opera House for the announcement.

“I’m still here with the same commitment and now the pandemic is over we’ll be doing it … it doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not.”

As conflicts rage in the Middle East and Ukraine, Mr Palmer believes the solution for an as-yet elusive peace could lie in an unlikely quarter: his planned homage to a vessel that sank in the North Atlantic more than a century ago, killing 1500 people.

“People are focusing very negatively on what forces are controlling our world, but the Titanic reminds us of the critical aspects all people aspire to: love and friendship,” he said.

Mr Palmer said the “love story of Rose and Jack” – the fictional characters from James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster – and the vessel “touches the hearts of everybody”.

“So the Titanic II, we hope, can act as a catalyst to reinvigorate some of those values, which hopefully can lead to peace,” he added.

Despite not being able to confirm the location of the shipyard where the vessel would be built, Mr Palmer said construction on Titanic II would commence in early 2025.

The maiden voyage has been pencilled in for mid-2027 and Mr Palmer said he would “certainly” be on board.

“We’ve got to remember that the Titanic stands for more than just a ship … it’s an epic example to all of us of courage, resilience and of service,” he said.

As for what the project’s total cost would be, Mr Palmer was not certain – but seemed unfazed.

“It’s going to cost whatever it’s going to cost to ensure we deliver the best ship and I’ve fortunately got a lot of money in the bank,” he said.

“I’ve got two options, either give my wife more money for shopping or spend it on the Titanic and I’m spending it on the Titanic because she’s shopped enough.”

As he prepares to celebrate a milestone birthday, the billionaire is reflecting on his legacy and wants Titanic II to play a major part.

“In these final stages of my life – I turn 70 this year – it’s something that I can perhaps do in a positive manner for the people of the world,” Mr Palmer said.

AAP