Ports of Montreal and Quebec award traditional gold-headed canes

The Montreal Port Authority officially inaugurated the start of a new year of activity by presenting the Gold-Headed Cane to Captain Rakesh Kumar, an Indian national, Master of the container ship Ottawa Express, the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2018.

The Ottawa Express left the Port of Liverpool, England, on December 21, 2017. It crossed the Port of Montreal’s limits on January 1, 2018 at 11:55.

At the Port of Quebec the Gold-Headed Cane to was awarded to Captain Georgios N. Chouliaris of the tanker ship Cap Romuald.

The Cap Romuald arrived at 7:30 a.m. on January 2nd, the first ocean-going vessel from a foreign port to dock at the Port of Quebec docks in the New Year. The ship had departed from Galveston, Texas on December 20th with a cargo of petroleum product.

The tradition of handing out gold headed canes to the captains of the first ships arriving at ports along the St. Lawrence river started in the days when the river froze over in the winter. The first ships – sail ships in those days – did not make it up the river until the spring thaw. Nowadays the St. Lawrence is kept open year round by Coast Guard icebreakers.

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