Australian billionaire delays New York Titanic gala after Sandy
SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian mining magnate who plans to build a replica of the Titanic said on Friday he is delaying a New York gala to unveil details of the project out of respect to those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Billionaire businessman Clive Palmer had planned to hold a dinner aboard the former aircraft carrier USS Intrepid on December 4, serving guests a menu based on the 11-course meal that was provided to first class passengers on the Titanic the night it sank in 1912.
"Mayor Michael Bloomberg canceled the city's world renowned New York Marathon last weekend as he didn't want a cloud to hang over the event in the wake of the hurricane and the damage it inflicted," Palmer said in an emailed statement.
"New York had a close relationship with the original RMS Titanic and the shipping company White Star Line and we believe it is too early to be holding our launch while the city and the region continues its recovery," he added.
Palmer's Blue Star Line, the company created to finance the Titanic project, said the dinner and coordinated events in Boston, London, Southampton and Halifax, Canada, will be rescheduled for late February 2013.
If the project goes to plan, Titanic II is scheduled make its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to Manhattan in 2016.
Palmer has promised that the ship, to be built by China's SinoTrans, will be as luxurious as its ill-fated namesake but will also encompass modern technology, including the latest navigation and safety systems.
The original Titanic, the largest liner in the world when it was launched and dubbed "virtually unsinkable," sank en route to New York after hitting an iceberg in April 1912, killing 1,517 passengers and crew.
(Reporting By Jane Wardell, editing by Elaine Lies)