City of Miami Proclaims Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises Ocean Fund Day

MIAMI, April 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — City of Miami Mayor Manuel Diaz has proclaimed Wednesday, April 20, as Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises Ocean Fund Day.

The proclamation honors the cruise lines for their 8-year-old environmental grant program, know as the Ocean Fund. Since 1996, the Ocean Fund has contributed more than $6.6 million to 48 organizations supporting marine conservation, education and awareness initiatives.

In the proclamation, Mayor Diaz said, “I call upon all residents of the City of Miami to join me in paying tribute to Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, whose dedication to the excellent care of our oceans is highly commendable.”

The proclamation was presented today to Celebrity Cruises President Dan Hanrahan during a luncheon to honor this year’s 11 Ocean Fund grant recipients, which will collectively receive $613,000.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized by the city in which we live and work,” Hanrahan said. “Through the Ocean Fund, we are able to assist groups who share our passion and concern for our world’s oceans. Strong environmental stewardship of the seas is everyone’s responsibility.”

Today’s luncheon was held at the offices of Shake-A-Leg Miami, one of this year’s grant recipients. The group is working with the City of Miami to transform two debris-strewn islands in Biscayne Bay into state-of-the-art recreational and educational sites for disabled and disadvantaged children with help from a $150,000 Ocean Fund grant.

A portion of Shake-A-Leg’s Ocean Fund grant also will be used to outfit a donated 37-foot trimaran, making it a fully accessible science and vocational training vessel, and to develop a marine-science curriculum it will offer to schools throughout Miami-Dade County.

The 10 other 2005 Ocean Fund grant recipients are as follows.

* American Association for American Geographers, Washington, D.C.: $40,000 to conduct a coastal and marine cleanup project in four districts of Colon, Panama.

* Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, San Pedro, Calif.: $40,000 over two years to continue its Sea Rangers youth conservation program, which trains students to serve as naturalists who conduct tours of the Cabrillo Bay coastal habitat.

* Cape Cod Stranding Network, Buzzards Bay, Mass.: $48,000 to develop outreach materials and a public awareness campaign focusing on the prevention of seal entanglements, as well as training materials produced in conjunction with the Virginia Aquarium on the evaluation of injured marine animals.

* The Conservation Fund, Arlington, Va.: $150,000 to purchase tracts of coastal land in Alaska for habitat conservation.

* Island Dolphin Care, Key Largo, Fla.: $25,000 to outfit classrooms, meeting spaces and therapy rooms in a new facility serving critically ill and special-needs children with dolphin-assisted therapy.

* MAST Academy, Miami: $50,000 to refurbish and equip a bus that will serve as a mobile science laboratory that will visit more than 30 schools in Miami-Dade County.

* Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, Fla.: $20,000 to enhance exhibits at the Conch Baby Farm, a newly established aquaculture facility in Key West that studies the endangered Queen Conch.

* Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Laguna Beach, Calif.: $20,000 to help construct four marine mammal rehabilitation pools.

* Save the Bay, Providence, R.I.: $30,000 to create a large mural of undersea life in Narragansett Bay in the organization’s new Explore the Bay Education Center.

* University of Miami, Miami, Fla.: $40,000 for two graduate fellowships at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, with a combined total of 29 ships in service and two under construction. The company also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe. Additional information can be found on http://www.royalcaribbean.com/ , http://www.celebrity.com/ or http://www.rclinvestor.com/ .

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