• The Titanic replica, which costs $145.31 million, or 1 billion yuan, will be finished by the end of 2017.

The Titanic replica, which costs $145.31 million, or 1 billion yuan, will be finished by the end of 2017. (Photo : whatshallwedonext/YouTube)

Star Energy Investment Group began on Wednesday the construction of a full-scale replica of the Titanic. Once finished, the vessel would simulate the ill-fated ship’s collision with an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912.

The replica would be part of a tourist resort along Qijiang River in China’s Sichuan Province’s Daying County. To celebrate the start of the construction, Star Energy held a keel-laying ceremony and fireworks, Reuters reported.

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Su Shaojun, chief executive of Star Energy, said that it should not be weird that a replica of Titanic would be found in Chinese waters. After all, the U.S. makes film about Asian cultural icons such as the martial art kung fu in “Kung Fu Panda.” He insisted that Titanic is of universal value.

He estimated the Titanic replica, which costs $145.31 million, or 1 billion yuan, would finish by the end of 2017. To ensure the vessel replica being made would look authentic, Star Energy hired Curtis Schnell, a production designer and producer in Hollywood, to oversee the ship’s construction as design expert.

About 1,500 people died when Titanic sank. The sinking of the Titanic was made into a blockbuster movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, shown in 1997. If it was alright for Hollywood to make a movie out of the tragedy and earn from the blockbuster film, Su Shaojun reckoned that it would not be wrong for Star Energy to make a replica of Titanic and use it for tourism purposes since the company is using the project in a “very respectful way,” he stressed.

Although they are not building it room for room, the replica’s shell and exterior would be quite accurate. Interior rooms that tourists could visit would also be faithful to the original ship’s design for historical accuracy, Su Shaojun said. Besides the Titanic replica, the resort would also feature a man-made beach, a 6D cinema – where “Titanic” would presumably be shown – and Venetian church and European castle replicas.

The replica would be 269 meters long and 28 meters wide. It would have a ballroom, theater and swimming pool, Xinhua news agency reported. To ensure the replica is faithful to the original Titanic, Star Energy spent years buying blueprints of the ship from collectors.