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Portuguese container ship honoured with Gold-Headed cane

Portuguese container ship honoured with Gold-Headed cane

PORTUGAL: Valencia Express container ship, being the first ship to Montreal port has been awarded with Montreal’s 175th Gold-Headed Cane. Anuj Kararia, the captain of this ship will get the reward on behalf of Montreal Port Authority on Busset St.

Montreal’s 175th Gold-Headed Cane award has been won by the Valencia Express container ship, the first ship to enter the Montreal port this year.

The ship, captained by Anuj Kararia, left Portugal on December 22 and crossed into Montreal port territory at Sorel at 12:06 a.m. Thursday January 1, 2015.

Kararia will be presented the award on behalf of the Montreal Port Authority on Bossuet St .Last year; the Gold-Headed Cane was given to the master Vijayendra Gurukant Chodankar, the bulk carrier Federal Spey.

Two years ago Captain Deepinder Singh of India accepted the award on before of the crew of the Mississauga Express.

The award was originally given in the form of a silver plate and a top hat. It was first won in 1840 by Capt. J. Swinburn aboard the Great Britain. He is believed to be the only captain ever to win it twice.

The cane replaced the top hat in the 1920s when the port stayed open all year round thanks to ice-strengthened ships and better ice breaking techniques. In past years competition for the award had intensified and crews are still known to celebrate the award with great enthusiasm.

So intense was the race for the cane that in the 1930s the award criteria was recommended changed in order to prevent perilous racing amid dangerous ice. The cane was awarded not to the first ship in the port but rather, the first ship to enter the Gulf of St. Lawrence with Montreal as its destination.

The Valencia Express flies under the flag of Bermuda and is operated by the shipping line Hapag-Lloyd represented in Montreal by the Robert Reford agency.