MSC Cruises breaks ground on Ocean Cay Marine Reserve
MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line, broke ground on Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve on 16th January 2017. Located south of Bimini in The Bahamas, the island is set to become a natural paradise exclusive to MSC Cruises guests as of November 2018.
The Right Honourable Perry Gladstone Christie, Prime Minister of The Bahamas joined Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, at the official Groundbreaking Ceremony along with other Bahamian ministers and government officials. This 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 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.
Speaking at the Groundbreaking Ceremony, Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, commented: “Working in partnership with the Government of The Bahamas, our aim is to turn an industrial wasteland into a thriving environment, bringing the island and its surrounding waters back to their original state. In so doing, we will substantially grow our Group’s already strong investment in the Bahamian economy, offering long-term employment opportunities to the local population.
“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.”
Gianluca Suprani, Head of Global Port Development and Shore Side Activities at MSC Cruises, added: “Located merely 65 miles east of Miami, Florida, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve has 11,400 feet of beautiful coastline and crystal blue waters teaming with unique marine life. 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. It will become a truly exclusive destination for MSC Cruises guests to experience the best the Caribbean has to offer.”
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.
MSC Seaside and other MSC Cruises ships operating in the Caribbean will call Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve regularly on their itineraries from November 2018 onwards. For more detailed information about itineraries that call at this destination, see www.msccruises.com
About MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises is part of the Swiss-based MSC Group, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line sailing year-round in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Seasonal itineraries cover northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, Cuba and the French Antilles, South America, southern Africa, China and Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman.
The MSC Cruise experience embodies the elegant side of the Mediterranean to create unique and unforgettable emotions for guests, through discovery of the world’s cultures, beauties and tastes. Its fleet comprises 12 of the most modern ships at sea: MSC Preziosa; MSC Divina; MSC Splendida; MSC Fantasia; MSC Magnifica; MSC Poesia; MSC Orchestra; MSC Musica; MSC Sinfonia; MSC Armonia; MSC Opera and MSC Lirica.