You wait 103 years for new Titanic then three come along at once
Work on a third full-scale replica of the Titanic is about to begin, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
Earlier this week Australian billionaire Clive Palmer said that 'Titanic II', a fully functioning, faithful remake of the world's most famous ship, would sail the world's oceans in 2018.
And a £110m life-sized Titanic is currently under construction in China, to be unveiled at a theme park in Sichuan Province in October 2017.
Now, however, it has emerged that a third new Titanic will be built in the US-owned Northern Mariana Islands.
Costing £97m, it will be the centrepiece of a luxury Pacific Ocean resort on Tinian Island - the only US territory that allows visa-free travel for Chinese and Russian tourists.
Like the vessel being built for landlocked Sichuan Province, this Titanic will not be an ocean-going liner, rather a huge, combined luxury hotel and casino.
Construction is scheduled to begin in January.
The venture capitalists behind the 'Tinian Ocean View Resort' project, Bridge Investment, said the themed resort, complete with Titanic replica, will "take visitors back to the 19th century".
Phillip Mendiola-Long, CEO of Bridge Investment Group, added: "Both the Titanic-themed hotel and the port hotel will be a casino-hotel complex that will draw international attention to Tinian as one of the world's best tourism experiences."
The resort, which will be aimed primarily at the luxury tourist market and high-limit gambler, will be designed by Las Vegas-based YWS Design, which was responsible for the Bellagio and Treasure Island resorts in the Nevada gambling Mecca. It is due for completion inside two years.
The respected Maritime Executive website, meanwhile, has suggested the £250m 'Titanic II' was no longer a suitable name for eccentric tycoon Palmer's replica, which will now be beaten in the race to recreate the iconic, Belfast-built ship.
Palmer's ambitious plan was to have his Titanic in the water by next summer but his company, Blue Star Line, said the project had been delayed by two years.
Like the Chinese Titanic, which will use hydraulics and water effects to give the impression that it's sinking, the Tinian Island replica is likely to attract accusations of disrespect for the victims of the original, ill-fated vessel, which sank on its maiden voyage with the loss of over 1,500 lives in 1912.
Seven Star Energy Investment, which is funding the Sichuan Province attraction, and Bridge Investment Group insist the finished products will be tasteful.
Seven Star, mindful of the possible controversy, has already agreed that a percentage of the proceeds will go towards a Titanic Foundation, which was launched to help victims of shipwreck accidents and highlight the story of the original ship.