A shipbuilder in China has started work on a full-scale replica of the Titanic, the doomed ship that hit an iceberg and sunk on its maiden voyage in 1912.
Construction on the project began Wednesday, Reuters reports. When it’s finished, the tourist attraction will offer simulations of the infamous disaster, which killed more than 1,500 people.
There’s no danger of real icebergs, though. The Titanic replica will be permanently docked at a reservoir in Daying County, in the landlocked Sichuan province.
Visitors will be able to eat on the ship and stay overnight, The Associated Press says.
The AP notes that the 1997 movie about the disaster — James Cameron’s Titanic — was a massive hit in China. To film that movie, Cameron built and sank a replica of the ship, but it was 90 percent of the size of the original, not full size.
Several years ago, Australian billionaire Clive Palmer said he was contracting a Chinese shipbuilder in Jiangsu province to build a full-scale replica of the Titanic. He said his ship would travel the Atlantic route intended for the original Titanic — hopefully with more success.
But Australian newspapers report that project has been delayed, if not entirely abandoned, giving the ship in Sichuan the chance to be the first full-size Titanic re-creation.
This one won’t won’t be trying to make an Atlantic crossing. The official newspaper in China, The People’s Daily, reports that the replica under construction “is a fixed tourist attraction as opposed to a moveable ship.”
It will be 269 meters (more than 882 feet) by 28 meters (about 92 feet), just like the original. Plans call for replicas of some of the Titanic’s interior features, like a ballroom, a theater, a pool and first-class cabins.
Reuters reports the project, part of a planned resort in Daying County, is going to cost more than the original budget of $145 million, and is expected to be finished by the end of next year.
Here’s more from the wire service:
“Hollywood production designer and producer Curtis Schnell, who is working on the project as its Titanic design expert, said despite criticism online that a tragedy in which some 1,500 people died was being resurrected for tourism purposes, Seven Star has recognized the venture in a ‘very respectful way.’
” ‘We’re trying to get as close as we can,’ he said. ‘We are not building every room in the ship, by any means, but the shell of the ship and the exteriors will be quite accurate, there will be interior rooms to be able to tour and see from the standpoint of historical accuracy.’ ”