The Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line, MSC, broke ground on Ocean Cay Marine Reserve on the 16th January.
The island is set to become a natural paradise in the south of Bimini in the Bahamas, exclusive to MSC guests as of November 2018.
Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, was joined by the right honourable Perry Gladstone Christie, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, at the official groundbreaking ceremony; the milestone marks the official commencement of the works that will turn this former industrial sand extraction site back into its original pristine state.
The development of the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is part of MSC Cruises’ unprecedented €9 billion investment plan, which includes the building of up to 11 next-generation smart ships coming into service between 2017 and 2026.
The first phase of the development of the marine reserve will now begin as the island is cleared of existing industrial infrastructure so it can be turned again into a pristine marine reserve.
Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, Pierfrancesco Vago, stated at the Groundbreaking Ceremony: ‘Working in partnership with the Government of the Bahamas, our aim is to turn an industrial wasteland into a thriving environment for man and nature alike, bringing the island and its surrounding waters back to their original state’.
‘Bearing testament to our ability to innovate, a purpose-built berth and pier will allow our cruise ships to dock directly at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Thus the island will de facto become an extension of the ship’.
A comprehensive landscaping plan will see more than 80 indigenous Caribbean trees, grasses, flowers and shrubs, planted on the island, returning to their lush natural habitat.
The island will feature six beaches, a 2,000 seat ampitheatre, numerous water sport options, walking and running paths, and a Bahamian village with shops, restaurants and a music gazebo. It will provide a purpose-built berth and pier on the seafront to enable passengers to step straight off the ship onto the shore
Head of Global Port Development and Shore Side Activities at MSC Cruises, Gianluca Suprani, has stated: The island has some of the finest aragonite sands in the world and once the work is completed, its surrounding waters will be home again to beautiful corals and rich aquatic life. Located merely 65 miles east of Miami, Florida, Ocean Cay Marine Reserve has 11,400 feet of beautiful coastline and crystal blue waters teaming with unique marine life.’
‘It will become a truly exclusive destination for MSC Cruises guests to experience the best the Caribbean has to offer’.
MSC Seaside and other of the line’s ships operating in the Caribbean will call Ocean Cay Marine Reserve regularly on their itineraries from November 2018 onwards.
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