William A. Irvin Moves Into Dry Dock for Restoration

Ten months after leaving Minnesota Slip the Irvin is ready to be worked on.

DULUTH, Minn.- After ten months of waiting in line at Fraser Shipyards, the William A. Irvin is now out of the waiting room and ready to be worked on in the dry dock.

The ship was moved from the Minnesota Slip in Canal Park last September for the Seawall Reconstruction Project, which city officials say is 99% done.

The Irvin was due back this past spring, but its return was delayed due to contract negotiations. Now DECC officials say it’ll return next spring, as soon as repairs are done in the dry dock.

“They pull the ship in and then a wall closes it’s almost like dammed off,” said DECC Marketing Coordinator Chris Johnson.

With cables attached to wenches on land, the Irvin pulled itself into the dry dock Thursday morning.

The ship brings in $200,000 a season as a floating museum in Canal Park. But it hasn’t served as one for the past two seasons.

With the ship now in the dry dock, it’s return to the community that misses it is on the horizon.

“They miss it. They miss the Irvin,” Johnson said. “Like I said it’s kind of an icon so I know that the community will look forward to it as well.”

“We’re really excited that the project is about to commence. It’s been a long road. It hasn’t been worked on in over 30 years.”

Once in the 899-ft dry dock, it’ll take eight hours for the water to drain so crews can move freely underneath the boat to make repairs.

“We’re painting above and below the waterline: 2ft above, 10 ft below,” said Jacob Searl, Project Manager at Fraser. “There’s another scheduled work on the hatch crane but we’re gonna do some surveys and see what kinda work needs to be done.”

Painting the ship is expected to take about four weeks, while the rest of the work will be done depending on the weather.

While it is a big job, the 600-ft Irvin is one of the smaller ships worked on at Fraser, Searl said.

“So 600 ft, typically lakers are between 650 up to 1,000 ft but we don’t have big 1000-footers in here.”

One factor that delayed the Irvin’s restoration over the past 10 months was reaching an agreement in the cost of the project.

“The funding for this project is provided by a grant that we were awarded in the amount of $504,000 so the project, the scope of the project will be within those means,” said Johnson.

The ship is expected to move back to the Minnesota Slip in time for next fall’s Haunted Ship attraction.

Categories: News, News – Latest News