00:10 GMT09 July 2020
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    A consortium of companies in China has begun the construction of a life-size replica of the Titanic, as part of a high-end tourist resort being built in the Sichuan province. The ‘New Titanic’ is expected to sail by 2018.

    The twin of the world's most famous passenger ship will be nearly identical to the ill-fated original, at 269 meters (882 ft) long and 28 meters (92 ft) wide. Production designers say they do not intend to make the interior identical, but the hull and exterior elements will be as accurate as possible, with reproductions of the original liner's features, including a banquet hall, theater, swimming pool and first-class guesthouse.

    "Many blueprint fragments found their way into the hands of collectors or remained missing," said Su Shaojun, one of the project's main investors. "We spent many years collecting the blueprints from many parts of the world and managed to obtain most of them." 

    The cost of the project is reported to be around 1 billion yuan ($145 million). Some of the funding will come from government coffers, as the New Titanic is expected to boost tourism in the country.

    ​A night on board the replica ship, with the opportunity to attend "period-correct parties," will cost guests some $434 per person. The attraction will also provide visitors with a simulation of the original Titanic's sinking, a fact that has fueled public criticism.

    Qixing Energy Investment, the company behind the project, has been accused of exploiting the 1912 catastrophe in which over 1,500 people drowned in icy Atlantic Ocean waters. Those working on the controversial revival defend the project, claiming that it is being handled in a "very respectful way."

    ​Among the initiative's most committed supporters is Peter Mandelson, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's ex-communications chief and one of the architects of the New Labour party. On Wednesday, Mandelson reportedly traveled to Sichuan province to participate in the official keel-laying ceremony.

    "This is a great project," he said during the event, cited by the Telegraph, adding that the tragedy of the sinking of the Titanic also saw stories of "loyalty, bravery and self-sacrifice."    


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