MSC Cruises said it has planted the first of 75,000 trees, shrubs and native plants meant to landscape its Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, a private island in the Bahamas.
Plans call for Ocean Cay to open in a year. MSC released an update of its progress in transforming the island, which had previously been used for industrial sand mining.
MSC said that more than 500 tons of industrial waste and scrap metal have been removed already and that a final, underwater debris clean-up is about to begin. A half-million tons of sand and soil were moved to provide a foundation and to reshape the island.
Eight beaches and a shallow lagoon are being formed as recreation areas.
MSC Cruises executives Pierfrancesco Vago and Gianluca Suprani planting the first trees on Ocean Cay.
Work on more than 100 environmentally-friendly structures will soon begin, which will include bars and restaurants as well as housing for employees and staff who will live on the island, MSC said.
In addition, MSC said it is in the process of re-creating the seabed surrounding the island and restoring coral beds.
MSC added that plans are underway for a marine laboratory on Ocean Cay that would research climate change-resistant coral.
About 800 Bahamians have been directly or indirectly employed during the construction phase, MSC said, and about 140 permanent operations jobs will be created.
Located in Bimini, Ocean Cay will be the cruise line private island closest to Miami.