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MSC Cruises outlines Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve additions

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A reported $100m in infrastructure development is planned at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve
MSC Cruises firmed plans for additional amenities and employment at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve by inking a heads of agreement with The Bahamas.

Among the changes are new excursions centers to support watersports and island tours, a sea dive and snorkel center and additional food and beverage outlets. Numerous conservation elements are planned, too, and housing will go up for 130 more staff.

Six-week closure in the spring

As earlier noted, MSC's private island will close for six weeks in the coming spring for what's been reported as a $100m upgrade.

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MSC Cruises' Gianluca Suprani, first row, second right, signed the Heads of Agreement in the presence of Bahamian officials includine Prime Minister Philip Davis, second row center and Tourism Minister Chester Cooper, left

MSC Cruises and Bahamian officials including Prime Minister Philip Davis and Deputy Prime Minister/Tourism Minister Chester Cooper signed the agreement Monday in Bimini.

Conservation Center

Other enhancements include building MSC Foundation’s Marine Conservation Center as a base for biologists, coral reef experts and students. It also will house interactive pavilions, a lecture hall and coral exhibition tanks and will educate passengers about the importance of the marine ecosystem and the need to protect the world’s oceans.

The island is home to the MSC Foundation’s Super Coral Program, which aims to build coral reef resilience throughout the region. The coral nurseries at Ocean Cay are reported thriving with young and healthy, yet critically endangered species of endemic, reef-building corals, and MSC Foundation is supporting graduate student programs related to coral resilience.

Third solar farm, additional landscaping

Further investments are in a third solar farm, part MSC Cruises’ aim to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions at Ocean Cay, and an advanced wastewater treatment plant. A landscaping plan will install more native and adaptive trees, grasses and shrubs.

New accommodation buildings will facilitate an increase in staff numbers from 150 to 280.

LJM Maritime Academy support

MSC Cruises also pledged to invest in future generations of seafarers by supporting the LJM Maritime Academy and the University of The Bahamas to enhance training for Bahamians seeking to enter the maritime sector.

The line will deploy its largest capacity in the North American market during the winter 2023/24 season with five ships: MSC Divina, MSC Magnifica, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seascape and MSC Seashore. All are visiting Ocean Cay.