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The wealthy could soon choose to spend their entire lives circumnavigating the world on a vast floating city, if the vision of a Florida-based firm becomes reality.
The $10 billion Freedom Ship would offer 40,000 residents a permanent ocean-going home complete with hospitals, schools, shops, parks and even a small airport.
At 25 storeys high and a mile long – four times longer than the Queen Mary II – the 2.7 million-tonne vessel would be so large that it could never enter a port. Instead, it would circle the globe once every two years, anchoring offshore major cities to allow its residents to enjoy some of the world’s top destinations – or shake off any seasickness.
Envisioned to spend approximately 70 per cent of its time moored up and 30 per cent transiting between countries, the Freedom Ship would leave the east coast of the United States in June and cross the Atlantic to Europe. There – to coincide with the summer months – it would loop around the north coast of Scotland to Scandinavia and back through the English Channel before heading down to the Straits of Gibraltar and into the Mediterranean.
Christmas would be spent off the north coast of Africa followed by a jaunt down to the Cape of South Africa in January. The vessel would then head across to Australia in time for the latter months of the Antipodean summer before travelling up through Asia and crossing the Pacific to the US west coast in September.
Entering the final stretch in its second year, the ocean-faring community would be transported around the Americas, heading to the furthest reaches of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego before returning to its US starting point via Latin capitals such as Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro – and beginning its route all over again.
Should residents find themselves yearning for dry land, they can fly to and from the Freedom Ship at any time using the airport on the top deck. And the vessel also offers room for another 30,000 daily visitors and 10,000 overnight guests, as well as 20,000 crew.
Roger M Gooch, director and vice-president of Freedom Ship International said he was happy to announce that after a hiatus due to the economic crisis, the seagoing city “now looks as if it is a live project again”.
“The Freedom Ship will be the largest vessel ever built, and the first ever floating city,” he said.
“This will be a very heavily capitalised project and the global economy in the last few years hasn’t been too inviting for unproven progressive projects like ours,” Mr Gooch explained.
“In the last six months we’re getting more interest in the project and we are hopeful we will raise the $1 billion to begin construction.”