Chinese company begins construction of full-sized Titanic replica—what could go wrong?

It has been more than a century since the RMS Titanic sank on its maiden voyage after colliding with an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean. Has that been long enough to have some lighthearted fun with the Titanic? A Chinese investment firm seems to think so. Seven Star Energy Investment Group has just started construction of a full-scale replica of the ocean liner as part of an amusement park in Sichuan province.

The real Titanic sank on April 15 1912, taking 1,500 people down with it. This tragedy was the impetus for many of the maritime regulations that exist now, including significant reforms to how many lifeboats a ship must carry. (Despite the general importance of such laws, they would not have improved the situation aboard Titanic, which sank with some of its lifeboats still unlaunched). There have been a myriad of films about the Titanic over the years, but many have expressed some discomfort with turning the ship into an amusement park ride.

According to Seven Star Energy Investment Group, the ship will look exactly like the real thing on the outside. However, it won’t be completely accurate on the inside. Only some of the internal structure will be turned into finished rooms. There will be a ballroom, dining hall, and staterooms. Visitors will be able to book a night in these rooms for about $ 400 per night. Building the ship will cost upward of $ 130 million.

That might all sound defensible, but there’s also a plan to build an advanced simulator rig inside the ship that will allow operators to “simulate” the collision that led to the sinking of the ship. If you’re thinking this sounds like a plot line from Rick and Morty, you’re right. This plan is literally straight out of a cartoon.

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Is it possible to make a recreation of a disaster like the sinking of the Titanic in a tasteful way? The chairman of Seven Star Energy responded to these concerns saying, “It’s not like a certain country owns this thing. Just like the US can make Kung Fu Panda and that’s very common.” It says it has undertaken the project in a “very respectful” way.

Seven Star Energy is hyping up the project rather aggressively with an elaborate “keel laying” ceremony at the site. They even got the actor who played the Titanic captain in the 1997 film to attend, dressed in a captain’s uniform. See? Tasteful. The first batch of tickets for the Chinese Titanic experience will go on sale this coming June. The company expects to have the ship ready to receive visitors in October of 2017.

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