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McKeil’s Harvest Spirit repeats as season-opening vessel in Port of Thunder Bay


The M.V. Harvest Spirit has officially opened the Port of Thunder Bay shipping season for the second consecutive year. In a gathering of familiar faces, the Port of Thunder Bay on Sunday recognized the crew of the Harvest Spirit in a Top Hat Ceremony held at Richardson International’s Main Elevator.

Captain Adam Hagen and Chief Engineer Gavin Pink were bestowed the traditional Top Hat by Port Board Chair Pat Bushby, along with a heaping of welcoming words and tokens of appreciation from local dignitaries and leaders:

  • The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services
  • Marcus Powlowski, M.P. Thunder Bay – Rainy River
  • Lise Vaugeois, M.P.P. Thunder Bay – Superior North
  • Mayor Ken Boshcoff, City of Thunder Bay
  • Charla Robinson, President, Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce

The Harvest Spirit arrived in Thunder Bay on Saturday, March 23, crossing the breakwall at 17:40. This marks the first time since 2008 the port has opened this early, tying the record for the earliest opening on record. The McKeil-owned vessel became only the second to receive the Top Hat honour after also being the final vessel to depart port and close the prior shipping season in January.

The Top Hat Ceremony draws attention to both the importance of marine shipping and the impact of the port on the local economy. Globally, an overwhelming majority of goods are transported by ship, with volumes rising annually. The Port provides significant employment and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars annually to the local economy.

Photo: left to right, Gavin Pink, Chief Engineer of MV Harvest Spirit, Captain Adam Hagen of MV Harvest Spirit and Pat Bushby, Chair of the Board of the Thunder Bay Port Authority