Oshawa Port Authority kicked off this year’s shipping season by officially welcoming the first international vessel, M/V Heloise, to the Port of Oshawa at a special Top Hat ­ceremony.

“I am delighted to extend a warm welcome to Captain Huang You Zhong, Master of M/V Heloise, to the port of Oshawa,” said Gary Valcour, Chair of Oshawa Port Authority. “It’s the start of what we are confident will be a busy shipping season. The more vessels and cargo in the Port of Oshawa, the greater the returns for the local economy and our community.”

Donna Taylor, President and CEO of Oshawa Port Authority, presented Captain Huang You Zhong with the traditional top hat during a special ceremony attended by local elected and industry officials. M/V Heloise arrived from Turkey to offload 18, 000 tonnes of steel. Its next port of call will be Duluth, Minnesota.

New shipping season follows record year for Oshawa port

In 2012, the Port of Oshawa handled 60 vessels, carrying a record 472,000 tonnes of bulk cargo. That is more vessels than ever, and almost twice the tonnage compared to a decade ago. Each year, the Port handles an average of $23 million worth of cargo, from salt and steel products to asphalt and grain.

Top Hat Ceremony dates back to 1829

The first international ship to enter the Port of Oshawa through the St. Lawrence Seaway is honoured each year, during a special ceremony and presentation of the lucky top hat. This tradition began back in 1829, when the first ship entered the newly created Welland Canal, and the prestigious Top Hat was presented to the captain as a symbol of good luck.

About M/V Heloise

The time charter owner of M/V Heloise is Brochart KB. The general ship agent is Colley Motorships Ltd., attended by sub-agent Currie Maritime Corporation. Oshawa Stevedoring and Local 1997 of the International Longshoremen’s’ Association discharged the cargo.