Iconic ship slips past Duluth bridge

Screenshot from Dennis O’Hara’s YouTube timelapse video of the William A. Irvin passing through the Minnesota Slip Bridge.

The retired iron ore ship William A. Irvin has been docked near Canal Park in downtown Duluth so long that it’s become part of the permanent landscape.

Perhaps that’s why so many people stayed up practically overnight Friday into Saturday morning to see the immobilized ship move once again.

This YouTube video by photographer Dennis O’Hara shows workers gently guiding the ship past the Minnesota Slip Bridge into the harbor.

The ship now functions as a floating maritime museum. The William A. Irvin predates the bridge. So, this became the first time it ever passed through this needle’s eye. Just seven inches on either side separated the massive vessel from a very big, very loud and very expensive disaster.

After this, tugboats moved the Irvin to the Fraser Shipyards in Superior, Wisconsin, for repairs and repainting. Meantime, workers will build a new, more durable dock for the beloved ore freighter in time for next year’s tourism season.

Officials also timed the move to coincide with an environmental project in the Minnesota Slip.

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