China is building a replica of the Titanic hundreds of miles from the sea.
The $145 million (£116 million) project kicked off yesterday with a keel laying ceremony at the site in Sichuan Province.
The replica will be docked permanently in a reservoir in the Qijiang river.
It will be part of a major tourism project run by Seven Star Energy Investment Group and partly funded by the government of Daying County.
The controversial project will also include a simulated sinking, which has drawn criticism from some quarters.
Steven Star Chief Executive Su Shaojun spoke out against critics saying the replica shouldn’t be built in China.
Speaking to Reuters, he said: “It’s not like a certain country owns this thing. Just like the US can make Kung Fu Panda and that’s very common. Same with Mulan. For China, the Titanic represents something of universal value.”
The project has employed Hollywood production designer and producer Curtis Schnell as its design expert. He said the replica was being built in a “very respectful way”.
He added that, while the ship wouldn’t be an exact replica, with only some of the internal rooms being kitted out, he said the exterior would be “quite accurate”.
The doomed liner famously sank in the Atlantic in April 1912 – en route from Southampton to New York – killing more than 1,500 people.
The film version of the disaster, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio was released in 1997.
This version of the Titanic is expected to set sail in its reservoir by late 2017.