A tip of the Top Hat welcomes first vessel of 2017

March 21, 2017

Hamilton, ON – The first vessel of the 2017 shipping season has arrived at the Port of Hamilton. The tug Calusa Coast and its specialized tank barge Delaware arrived carrying liquid asphalt from Detroit for delivery to the Yellowline Asphalt Products terminal at the Port.

The Hamilton Port Authority marks the start of each shipping season with the ceremonial presentation of a top hat to the Captain of the first vessel. On March 21, Calusa Coast Captain Gary Kafcsak was welcomed to Hamilton by Yellowline’s Operations Manager, Suresh Daljeet, and Hamilton Port’s Harbour Master, Vicki Gruber. Ms. Gruber presented Captain Kafcsak with the traditional top hat, which he signed and dated, a Port tradition.

“2017 is the 70th year of the Port of Hamilton’s Top Hat Ceremony,” said Ms. Gruber. “This presentation is a gesture of respect and welcome. We are looking forward to a successful 2017 shipping season, and are pleased to welcome Captain Kafcsak here to help get the season underway.” The Port’s top hat ceremony began in 1947 and there have been two ceremonial top hats used since – the first from 1947 to 1987 and the current since 1987.

Captain Kafcsak and his crew on the Calusa Coast travelled from Detroit via the Welland Canal. Soon after its arrival in Hamilton late in the evening of March 20, the ship’s liquid bulk cargo began being transferred from the vessel docked at Pier 23, directly to Yellowline’s tanks on Pier 22 via pipe.

More than 390,000MT of liquid bulk products transited the Port of Hamilton in 2016, including commodities such as liquid asphalt, gasoline, and even rum. At the Port, these commodities may be stored, blended and transloaded to other modes of transportation for local distribution.

Yellowline’s terminal on Pier 22 is a leading-edge liquid bulk storage and transload terminal specializing in neat and polymer-modified asphalt cement. Drivers across Ontario have a connection with Yellowline’s asphalt cement products, which have been used in the QEW, 403, 407, 401 and other roadways in the province. Yellowline’s facility was designed in 2012 with the environment in mind, including dust control and recycling systems, and a unique safety feature to avoid possible overflows. Yellowline is among the Port’s tenant members of the Green Marine program, which means it meets and reports on environmental standards that go beyond the regulatory requirements.

The tug Calusa Coast is owned by Dann Marine of Chesapeake City, Maryland, and the barge Delaware is owned by Texas-based Kirby Offshore Marine, one of the largest tank barge operators in the United States.

The Port of Hamilton is the largest Canadian port on the Great Lakes, handling more than 9 million MT of cargo each year.


Media Contact:
Larissa Fenn
Director, Public Affairs

Hamilton Port Authority
905.525.4330 ext. 235  |  [email protected]
Hi-res photos available.

Hamilton Harbour Master Vicki Gruber and Calusa Coast Captain Gary Kafcsak


The tug Calusa Coast and barge Delaware unloading cargo via pipeline at the Port of Hamilton