The boss of MSC Cruises has highlighted the line’s extended environmental ambitions as its sustainability efforts were recognised in the US.

The company was honoured with a marine industry category award by the North American Marine Environment Protection Association.

It was recognised for three key sustainability milestones achieved in 2019, including construction starting on the first of up to nine LNG-powered vessels to join the fleet in the next decade starting with  MSC World Europa in 2022.

The restoration of the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas was also singled out together with steps taken to phase out single-use plastic items across the fleet.

Separately, the line released its 2019 sustainability report highlighting a vision to become an environmental leader in the global maritime sector as it prepares to take delivery of MSC Virtuosa and MSC Seashore in the first half of 2021

Executive chairman Pierfancesco Vago said: “We are honoured to receive this award, which recognises our ongoing efforts to embrace a zero-impact future.

“As a company we are unequivocally committed to protecting the environment, the coastal communities that we reach and all our employees.

“Our long-term vision is to become an environmental leader within the overall maritime sector. We are doing this by constantly taking steps to decrease our fleet’s environmental impact and investing in the accelerated development of next-generation environmental technologies and solutions.

“Our priority is the sea and the oceans. And as a family company we always prioritised the long term over short term considerations.

“Despite the challenges that our industry currently faces, our eyes remain fixed on our long-term environmental ambitions.”