One of the Twin Ports' most iconic ships has returned to its former berth, and no, it's not the William A. Irvin.
Crews spent about three hours Tuesday moving the Edward L Ryerson, an idle lake freighter, a short distance from Tower Slip to Cumming Slip, where it had sat since 2013.
The Ryerson had to be moved from its home of the last six years near Barko Hydraulics in Superior in order for the state of Wisconsin to conduct soil testing where the ship was moored. The ship returned to Fraser Shipyards, where it was laid-up in 2009, until Fraser needed to do soil testing in 2013.
Tom Wiater, the president of Central Marine Logistics, which operates the Ryerson, came in from Indiana for the move. Two Heritage Marine tugs and a Fraser tug helped orchestrate the move a short distance in Howards Bay. With a crew of seven on deck, Wiater oversaw the move from the vantage point of the ship's pilot house.
"It was a dead ship without any ballast, with a brisk wind," Wiater said. "So we had some challenging conditions, but the tugs worked very good."
Unlike what you would expect from a ship that has sat idle for the past decade, Wiater said the Ryerson is in surprisingly "good shape" with generators that worked when he started them on Tuesday.
"I was very impressed with how well the winches worked and how well the boat handle worked,"
Wiater said. "I'm sure she will sail again. When you get a more robust steel economy, I have no doubt you'll see that boat sail again."
Until then, Wiater likes the idea of the ship staying at Fraser.