Irvin safe and sound in Superior
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.