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All ashore at Ocean CayFocus on the Bahamas

Report
5 min
12/05/2020
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CARIBBEAN

Since November 2019, Ocean Cay has been a port of call for MSC Croisières passengers. This picture postcard private island in the Bahamas, before becoming a delightful stopover for vacationers, was a real logistical challenge for Americaribe, the US subsidiary of Bouygues Construction responsible for redeveloping it. A bird’s eye view of an exceptional island project.
by Valentin Althuser
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Ocean Cay

Ocean Cay, located in Bimini, the southernmost district of the Bahamas archipelago, is an artificial island constructed in the late-1960s and used until now as a site for extracting industrial sand. Extensive decontamination work was necessary before the project could begin.
40
hectares of land
purple house
01
The redevelopments
In total, 110 different structures, mostly made of timber, were handed over by Bouygues Bâtiment International.
“All the buildings – the little beach houses, restaurants, and shops – have been designed to withstand a category 5 hurricane, that is, one with winds of 300 kilometres per hour.”
portrait sunita
Sunita Deen
The Buildings manager at Ocean Cay
workers
Painted in the bright colours typical of the architecture in the Bahamas, the four-story living quarters for the future personnel at Ocean Cay are the largest of the buildings.
houses
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23
nationalities on the worksite
02
The support base in Miami
All the materials necessary for the worksites were shipped from a support base in Miami. Jean-Baptiste Baudin de la Valette, President of Americaribe comments: “Generally speaking, the real challenge was not the technically difficult worksite, but rather the logistics. Our support base was at Miami, just 100 kilometres from the island, which was helpful in terms of supplies and organisation.” Bringing materials for a project on an uninhabited island required meticulous planning.
boats
“There was no room for error. You couldn’t make a mistake in purchasing. If you forgot to order a bolt, it took two days to get here, and that was very costly.”
portrait riadh
Riadh Maamatou
Exterior works manager
workers
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3.5
km of beach
lighthouse
03
The lighthouse
The 98-metre lighthouse is used to stage a light show each evening for the customers of the Hemingway Bar.
lighthouse sunset
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3.5
km of roads
04
Worksite
living quarters
In addition to the technical challenge, there was also the challenge of managing the teams from Bouygues Bâtiment International. Worksite living quarters were an essential part of the logistics for this project. A row of white bungalows were used to house team members, some of whom stayed on the island for over 18 months. All the modules were designed to resist extreme weather conditions.
storage containers
“Housing and feeding several hundred people in the middle of nowhere on the ocean was a huge challenge. Everything had to be brought in, from catering, laundry and desalination to water treatment.”
portrait jean
Jean-Baptiste Baudin de la Valette
President of Americaribe
storage containers
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77,000
caribbean trees, shrubs, flowers and other plants
factory
05
Water treatment plant
A reverse-osmosis system was also built. This comprises a water purification process that uses a very fine filter system to remove suspended matter, allowing only water molecules to pass through.
It produces about 400 m3 of water per day, whilst a water treatment plant provides wastewater for irrigation.
worker
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Photo credits Jorge Alvarez/Drone Permission