Chinese firm to replicate the Titanic for 1 billion yuan for inland theme park
Sichuan firm to spend billion yuan on attraction recreating experience of famous ship's sinking
A Sichuan company intends to spend one billion yuan (HK$1.27 billion) building the world's first full-scale replica of the Titanic as part of a theme park in the southwestern province's Daying county.
The company, Seven Star Energy Investment, announced in Hong Kong on Sunday that it would fund the construction while a US partner would design the ship. The replica would be permanently docked on the Qi River, and become the main attraction of a planned theme park.
"When the ship hits the iceberg, it will shake, it will tumble," Su Shaojun, chief executive of the investing firm, was quoted by Reuters as saying. "We will let people experience water coming in by using sound and light effects … They will think: 'The water will drown me; I must escape with my life'."
The project is not the first attempt to recreate the famed ship that stuck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage in 1912 and sank, killing more than 1,500 people.
Australian billionaire Clive Palmer announced a plan to build a serviceable Titanic II cruise ship in 2012.
Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry in Hubei will build Seven Star's replica. Construction was expected to last two years, but the report did not say whether work had begun. They will base the design on the Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic.
Curtis Schnell, a Hollywood production designer engaged in the ship's design, was quoted as saying historical materials about the Olympic and preserved furniture would be used for reference. Schnell said the design team would copy the floors, mooring ropes and decoration to ensure the attraction was as authentic as possible.
The Olympic was launched in 1910 and remained in service until 1935.
A report by Sichuan-based West China City Daily in October said the plan was first announced at the 14th Western China International Fair in Chengdu , Sichuan's capital. The local newspaper reported that a museum about the Titanic would also be constructed.
Bernard Hill, who played the captain in the Titanic movie, flew to Hong Kong to show his support for the project, Reuters said. He said the theme park would be respectful of the tragedy.
"It's been approached in a very delicate and a very sensitive way and they're very aware of the extent of the disaster in 1912. I don't think it will belittle that disaster."
Daying is famous for its saltwater lake, known as China's Dead Sea.