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Irvin safe and sound in Superior

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The William A. Irvin, framed by the slip bridge, slowly makes its way to the outside world early Saturday morning. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com2 / 12
A tugboat assists the William A. Irvin as it leaves Minnesota Slip. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com3 / 12
Minnesota Slip looks empty after the departure of the William A. Irvin Saturday morning. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com4 / 12
The William A. Irvin is moved toward open water after leaving Minnesota Slip. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com5 / 12
A worker watches clearance between the William A. Irvin and the edge of the barge he's standing on. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com6 / 12
People watch the bow of the William A. Irvin pass between the upright spans of the blue bridge in Minnesota Slip on Saturday night. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com7 / 12
The William A. Irvin, assisted by two barges (right) slowly departs Minnesota Slip early Saturday morning. The barges artificially extended the slip wall so the ship could be moved into the harbor. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com8 / 12
Workers on a barge along with one on board the William A. Irvin work together with an excavator and operator to keep the Irvin moving in a straight line into the harbor from Minnesota Slip. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com9 / 12
The William A. Irvin squeaks through the opening between the upright spans of the Minnesota Slip Bridge late Saturday night. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com10 / 12
Boat watchers watch the progress of the William A. Irvin from Minnesota Slip into the Duluth Harbor behind the DECC early Saturday morning. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com11 / 12
As onlookers (left) watch the progress of the William A. Irvin through Minnesota Slip late Friday night, workers on board keep a close eye on clearances through the blue bridge. Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com12 / 12

The William A. Irvin safely arrived at Fraser Shipyards early Saturday morning, city officials said.

The 611-foot ship was guided by tugboats across the harbor after exciting the Minnesota Slip, its home for the last 30 years, shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday.

By 4 a.m., the floating museum had reached Fraser in Superior, about a 3 mile trip.

At Fraser, the Irvin will be dry docked and painted.

While it's gone, contaminated sediments in the slip will be capped in place and stabilized as part of a $10 million project to revitalize the slip. Most of the funding is being provided by the state of Minnesota and the Environmental Protection Agency. The Irvin is slated to return to Duluth again in spring 2019.

Hundreds of people had gathered to watch the ship move out of the slip at a rate of 1 foot every four seconds and through the Minnesota Slip Bridge with only 7 inches of clearance on either side.

It took about 3 hours to move the Irvin out the of the slip and through the bridge. Crews used two winches — a pulling winch and a braking winch — to control the ship's forward movement. Excavators kept the ship tight against the slip's new seawall on the side of the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center to ensure it passed straight through the narrow slip bridge.

The city of Duluth expects to spend a grand sum of about $800,000 from tourism tax collections to remove the Irvin from the slip.

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