Last Image Of The Titanic
Titanic II set to sail in 2016

An Australian billionaire has announced plans to build a replica of the doomed ship Titanic and set it sail in 2016.

Billionaire Clive Palmer told the Australian media that he has signed a memorandum of understanding with CSC Jinling Shipyard, a Chinese state-owned company, to build a 21st century version of the ship, BBC reported.

"It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic but of course it will have state-of-the-art 21st century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems," he said in a statement.

"Titanic II will sail in the northern hemisphere and her maiden voyage from England to North America is scheduled for late 2016."

The new vessel is expected to have the same specifications as the original - 270 metres long (885 feet), 53 metres high and weighing some 40,000 tonnes. It will have 840 rooms, nine decks and an exhibition that will showcase Palmer's home state of Queensland.

There are going to be changes below the waterline including welding and not riveting, a bulbous bow for greater fuel efficiency, diesel generation and enlarged rudder and bow thrusters for increased manoeuvrability, an AFP report said.

"Titanic II will be the ultimate in comfort and luxury with on-board gymnasiums and swimming pools, libraries, high class restaurants and luxury cabins," AFP quoted Palmer as saying.

The announcement has come just a few days after the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship was marked. A British cruise ship MS Balmoral traced the route of the ill-fated liner with 1,309 passengers aboard.

Palmer, who is said to have established his own shipping company, Blue Star Line, believes that the new ship would be a tribute to the 1,500 passengers who died when the original ship hit an iceberg and sank in the waters on 15 April, 1912 when it was on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

While the original was constructed in Belfast, the new vessel will be made in China. The cost of construction is not yet known.