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Friday, 9 June, 2000, 05:40 GMT 06:40 UK
Tycoon presents Titanic II proposal

Harland and Wolff built the original Titanic
A South African millionaire is to present his plans to build a new version of the ill-fated Titanic luxury liner in Belfast on Friday.

Sarel Gous is to brief Belfast City Council's development committee on plans for the Titanic II.

He has already held talks with the head of the technical department at the Harland and Wolff shipyard, where the original liner, which sank in 1912, was built.

The Belfast shipyard's technical chief, Jim Lee, who has already met Mr Gous said the company was "listening closely to developments for Titanic II".

After the events of 1912, and the recent Hollywood reminder, it might seem that nobody in their right mind would consider building another model of the Titanic.

However, Mr Gous said the Titanic II would be based on the old ship but would be much bigger, in fact the biggest liner in the world - dwarfing its namesake, which sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

Far from putting travellers off, Mr Gous believes the romance of the Leonardo Di Caprio movie has inspired cruise line enthusiasts.

500m project

Harland and Wolff has said that since the film was a global success in 1997 it has had calls from around the world asking about the chances of a new Titanic being built.

But it said it was satisfied Mr Gous was serious about the 500m project.

A spokesman at the yard said: "He has been working on this for quite some time and has put a considerable amount of his own money into it. He is committed to seeing it happen."

Harland and Wolff still hold the plans for the Titanic but it does not own any copyright on the name.

The spokesman said: "Perhaps marketing it as built in Belfast by Harland and Wolff rather than anywhere else would help because of the historical associations."

The new Titanic would not be an exact replica but would have the same external lines and levels of luxury.

'Magical name'

Former Belfast Lord Mayor, Assemblyman Dr Ian Adamson, who had discussions with Mr Gous on his previous visit, said: "This is not a pipe-dream.

"The magic of the Titanic name would make this the cruise ship the rich and famous would want to sail on.

"Cruising is the last resort of the millionaire in the 21st century, but all cruise ships seem to look the same.

"Titanic II, bigger and better than the original, but with its own famous grand staircase and luxury, would be a winner."

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See also:

09 Mar 00 | Northern Ireland
The yard that built the Titanic
10 May 00 | Northern Ireland
'Time to rebuild yard's reputation'
10 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Shipyard wins new order
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