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Cap Corpus Christi first ocean ship of 2024 at Port of Québec


For the 189th consecutive year, the Port of Québec welcomes the first ocean-going vessel of the year hailing from a foreign port. Port President and CEO Mario Girard was on hand to present the prestigious Gold-Headed Cane to Greek Captain Pantelis Kaimakis who was at the Cap Corpus Christi’s command from the Gulf of Mexico to the port’s dock at 2:12 a.m. on January 3, 2024.

The Gold-Headed Cane ceremony is a tradition dating back to 1835. At that time, shipbuilder John Munn was the first to cross the Atlantic on a steamship made in Québec City. For his achievement, he was given a gold-plated snuffbox upon his arrival in England. On his return, he instituted this practice honouring the first ship of the year to successfully navigate the Saint Lawrence. The snuffbox was eventually replaced by the Gold-Headed Cane that is presented nowadays. The gold head symbolizes prosperity, wealth, and good fortune for the coming year. The cane itself is made of cherry wood, the material most often used in shipbuilding here in Québec City.

“This maritime ceremony, perpetuated by the Port of Québec for nearly two full centuries, is among the richest in our industry. The tradition continues as it embodies the timeless maritime spirit pulsating throughout the Port of Québec. We are honoured to maintain this tradition, especially since the Saint Lawrence River is among the world’s most challenging waterways to navigate, particularly at this time of the year. We therefore highlight not only the expertise of the captain and crew, but also the important teamwork combining the efforts of maritime community stakeholders involved in logistics, piloting, navigation, towing, and stowage,” explained Mr. Girard.

The Cap Corpus Christi was built in 2018. The ship docked at Valero’s South Shore facility to unload a cargo of crude oil and its next destination is Corpus Christi, Texas.

A cocktail reception celebrating the awarding of the Gold-Headed Cane will take place on January 11, during which the Port of Québec will also summarize the past year’s traffic performance.

Photo from left to right: Marina Binotto, Director of Public and Government Affairs – Valero;
Gaston Bilodeau, family of the CEO; Carl Robitaille, pilot – Corporation of Bas Saint-Laurent Pilots; Carl Marcotte, Vice-President and General Manager – Valero; Mario Girard, CEO – Port of Quebec; Captain Kaimakis Pantelis and the ship’s chief engineer – Cape Corpus Christi; Marie Huguette Cormier, President of the Board of Directors – Port of Quebec

Photo by Lora Video Creator