Full-scale replica aims to at­tract vis­i­tors to Sichuan


China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By HUANG ZHILING in Day­ing, Sichuan huangzhiling@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

A solemn cer­e­mony was held in the tiny, hilly county of Day­ing in South­west China’s Sichuan prov­ince on Wed­nes­day, which was at­tended by Bri­tish for­mer deputy prime min­is­ter Peter Man­del­son and sev­eral US de­sign­ers, who wit­nessed the lay­ing of the keel of a fullscale replica of the RMS Ti­tanic.

The doomed lux­ury cruise ship sank in 1912 af­ter hit­ting an ice­berg dur­ing its maiden voy­age. More than two-thirds of the 2,224 pas­sen­gers per­ished, mainly due to a short­age of lifeboats.

To boost de­vel­op­ment of the lo­cal tourism sec­tor, Day­ing is build­ing a life-size replica of the cruise ship by the Qi­jiang River with an in­vest­ment of 1 bil­lion yuan ($145 mil­lion).

Upon com­ple­tion of the replica, it will be per­ma­nently docked in a reser­voir in the river, ac­cord­ing to Hu Mingchao, head of Day­ing county.

Plan­ning for the con­struc­tion of the replica started more than two years ago when GC High-Tech, a United States-based com­pany, was in­vited to de­sign it.

The de­sign­ing process has been slow be­cause the firm has had to con­sult the builder of the replica, Wuchang Ship- yard, which is based in Wuhan, Hubei prov­ince.

“The ship­yard is a builder of nuclear sub­marines and is tech­ni­cally strong. But build­ing the Ti­tanic replica is so com­pli­cated that the US firm has had to con­sult the ship­yard con­stantly to fig­ure out if it can meet the chal­lenges of turn­ing the de­sign into a full-scale replica,” said James Wu, China re­gional chief rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Amer­ica Hol­ly­wood Tele­vi­sion and Film Me­dia Inc.

Wu, a US cit­i­zen, said GC High-Tech is part of Amer­ica Hol­ly­wood Tele­vi­sion and Film Me­dia.

Wuchang Ship­yard only started build­ing com­po­nents for the replica in April and is ex­pected to fin­ish all com­po­nents by Au­gust next year, ac­cord­ing to Wang Zhi­gang, gen­eral man­ager of the Wuhan Branch of China Clas­si­fi­ca­tion So­ci­ety, which sets tech­ni­cal cri­te­ria for, and over­sees, ship­yards.

The in­te­rior and ex­te­rior of the replica will be built ac­cord­ing to the Ti­tanic’s orig­i­nal de­sign.

Su Shao­jun, chair­man of Qix­ing En­ergy In­vest­ment in Zhe­jiang prov­ince, which is the in­vestor of the replica, said the replica’s in­te­rior would in­clude the cruise ship’s large ban­quet hall and first-class guest­house.

“Af­ter the RMS Ti­tanic sank, no­body saw its com­plete set of blue­prints. Many


blue­print frag­ments found their way into the hands of col­lec­tors or re­mained miss­ing. We spent many years col­lect­ing the blue­prints from many parts of the world and man­aged to ob­tain most of them,” Su said.

It is un­known when the replica will open to vis­i­tors, but pre­orders for overnight stays were first ac­cepted in Hong Kong in June 2005, with tick­ets for a one-night, econ­omy-class stay start­ing at about 3,000 yuan ($435), and the price for a lux­ury fare amount­ing to hun­dreds of thousands of yuan.

Di­a­gram of a full-scale replica of the RMS

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