A BILLIONAIRE’S plan to hold a special reception in Southampton showcasing a proposed Titanic II liner has been delayed until 2013.

Australian industrial magnate Professor Clive Palmer had hoped to stage a breakfast event at the city’s Grand Cafe this month to publicise his dream of building a full-scale replica of the ill-fated ship.

Similar events were due to have taken place on the east coast of the US.

But now his Blue Star Line shipping company has pushed the Southampton date back to March 5 because of the recent devastation caused in New York by Hurricane Sandy.

Prof Palmer said of the event: “Titanic began her ill-fated journey from the city’s port and more than 500 Southampton families were tragically touched by the 1912 disaster.

“While looking ahead to the exciting Titanic II project we shall commemorate the past by paying tribute to the courage of passengers, crew and artisans who contributed so much to the ship of dreams.”

Titanic II is scheduled to set sail from Southampton to New York on her maiden passenger voyage in 2016.

In April, 2012, Blue Star Line signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Chinese company CSC Jinling to build Titanic II, while plans for the ship have been commenced by Finnish-based marine design and engineering company Deltamarin.

As previously reported, it is already known the new vessel will mirror her predecessor’s dimensions, measuring 885 feet long and more than 173 feet high, although she will be slightly wider to improve stability.

The project aims to construct a 40,000-ton copy of the White Star ship which sank with the loss of 1,500 lives on her first Atlantic crossing from Southampton to New York after striking an iceberg.

Titanic II, which will be powered by diesel engines, have a larger rudder and be equipped with a series of bow thrusters, cannot be an exact replica of the original vessel as she will have to meet stringent 21st century regulations.