Harland & Wolff, the Belfast shipyard which built the giant cruise liner Titanic is advising a British-backed company which wants to build a full-size replica in time for a safer maiden voyage in December 1999.
But the shipyard has denied holding talks with a rival consortium which wants to order a replica for a voyage in 2002.
The unnamed UK financing company is backing South Africa’s RMS Titanic project with a £271m loan. The first sailing is planned from Southampton on 29 December 1999, arriving in New York two days later.
The rival consortium comprises White Star Line which has the same name as Titanic’s original owner and was set up by a Basle-based consultancy and Las Vegas-based Titanic Development Corporation, which would raise capital needed for the project.
‘We have had no discussions with them about building a replica,’ Harland & Wolff said.
But the Belfast yard, which retains ownership of the Titanic’s design drawings, is also conducting a feasibility study into the construction of a one-sixth scale model of the 880ft Titanic for North Star Holdings, a company based in Holywood, County Down.
The firm would not comment on the sensitivity of building a replica of the liner in which 1,500 passengers and crew died for a millennium party.