Montreal Port Authority President and CEO Sylvie Vachon officially inaugurated the start of a new year of activity on January 4 by presenting the Gold-Headed Cane to Captain Jun Eric Aljo Dalipe, master of MV Vigorous, the first ocean-going vessel to enter the port without a stopover in 2016. Vigorous left the port of Sohar, Oman, on November 30, and crossed Port of Montreal’s limits on January 1 at 5:21 a.m. Her arrival underlines the fact that the port of Montreal is open year-round to all ocean-going vessels.

The 177th Gold-Headed Cane presentation ceremony brought together numerous representatives of the maritime industry and Montreal’s business and cultural communities as well as political figures including Marc Garneau, federal Minister of Transport, Jean D’Amour, Quebec Minister for Transport and the Implementation of the Maritime Strategy, and Aref Salem, City Councillor and Member of the Executive Committee in charge of transportation.

Sylvie Vachon highlighted the demanding work of master mariners, as well as the huge appeal the Gold-Headed Cane has for those who call at the Port of Montreal: “This trophy is still and always will be seriously coveted by ship masters from around the world who sail to our waters.” The event also allowed the Port to recognize the work of Corporation du Saint-Laurent Central pilots Pierre Labelle and Pierre Audette, who brought the vessel safely into port.

There was a time when awarding the Gold-Headed Cane celebrated the arrival of the first vessel that made it through the ice in springtime. Now it reminds us that the Port has been open year round since 1964.

Registered in the Marshall Islands, Vigorous is 180 metres long. The bulk carrier is operated by Vigorous Trading and Shipping, and entered service in 2013.