Atlantic Spirit was the first ocean-going vessel of 2021 to cross the port of Montreal’s downstream limit at Sorel without a stopover on January 1. True to a tradition dating back over 180 years, Montreal Port Authority (MPA) is awarding the Gold-Headed Cane to her master, Captain Oleksandr Popov.

Atlantic Spirit left the Port of Vlissingen in the Netherlands on December 18, 2020. Flying the flag of the Marshall Islands, this ABC Maritime shipping line tanker was carrying a cargo of refinery distillates (hydrocrack bottom) used as a feedstock to produce lubricants, headed for Vopak Terminals at Section 94 of the port.

Ukranian-born Captain Popov has served more than 30 years as master and four years with ABC Maritime line. The crossing, which was made in somewhat rough weather with strong winds and at times intense waves, took 14 days.

Due to the health restrictions in force during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gold-Headed Cane engraved with the name of the first-arriving ship and her captain was awarded to him on the dock by Port of Montreal Harbour Master Jean-Francois Belzile. The traditional Gold-Headed Cane awarding ceremony where the Montreal marine industry usually gathers did not take place due to the pandemic.

In 2012 that the traditional gold-headed cane was redesigned as a more contemporary version of this coveted international maritime award. Since then, through the selection of its various components and its renewed design, it has honoured and enhanced the pillars of the region’s industries which operate through port infrastructures. This new edition of the polished and anodized aluminum cane is stylishly reminiscent of the blue highway, whereas the redesigned pommel supports an iron ore rock whose lustre is reflected in an acrylic hemisphere. The seven stars illustrated on the logo of the Port of Sept-Îles and recalling the seven islands in the bay have been reproduced in 10-karat gold on the ring of the cane.