Switzerland-based cruise line MSC Cruises has decided to provide funding for the construction of a new cruise berthing facility in the Cayman Islands’ George Town Harbour.
This was announced by Premier Alden McLaughlin after the Cayman Islands Government had received a formal financial commitment from the cruise company.
As informed, MSC Cruises is the fourth cruise line company to financially commit to the cruise berthing project, along with Royal Caribbean, Carnival Corporation and Disney Cruise Line.
McLaughlin affirmed that it is beneficial for the Cayman Islands to have four cruise lines signed on to the cruise berthing project.
“These agreements, coupled with the finance to be provided by whichever entity is eventually selected as the preferred bidder on the project, ensure that no public funding will be required to build the cruise berths and enhanced cargo facility,” he explained.
“As well as strengthening the project’s financing structure, having cruise companies financially vested in the project provides assurance that the country’s finances will not be exposed to risk and is a positive indication of their commitment to our islands for decades to come. It is a win-win situation for the country, the preferred bidder and the cruise lines,” McLaughlin added.
“This agreement represents the accomplishment of another key milestone in the lifecycle of this project. MSC operates more than 1,000 routes globally and is one of the fastest growing cruise companies in the world. Their commitment to the Cayman Islands will help to sustain and grow our cruise tourism industry into the future,” Minister for Tourism Moses Kirkconnell said.
The cruise berthing facility project is now in its sixth year and has undergone a rigorous procurement process to identify a preferred bidder to construct the berthing facility within a design, build, finance and maintain framework.
The Port Authority of the Cayman Islands will continue to own, operate and manage the facility as it does today.
The proposed project, whose construction schedule is estimated at 30 to 36 months, would include a dredged berthing area and piers providing berths for four large cruise ships, with additional reclaimed land for landside facilities.
Following the completion of the project, cruise ships will no longer have to transfer cruise passengers between ship and shore using small vessels.