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Homecoming for Duluth's museum ship nears

Fraser Shipyards completing final touches on Wm. A. Irvin

By: Peter Passi | October 2, 2019

Just a few more days should be required to complete work on the William A. Irvin, said Chelly Townsend, executive director of the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, which owns and operates the museum ship.

Crews at Fraser Shipyards in Superior moved the William A. Irvin museum ship into dry dock in August to repair and service areas of the ship that are below the waterline.   (News Tribune file photo)

Townsend said workers at Fraser Shipyards in Superior have about three days of painting left to go on the retired laker, with the work contingent upon fair weather as the vessel sits in dry dock.

Workers also are individually marking between 250 and 275 of the most corroded rivets in the ship's hull for frenching and welding. This involves reforming rivet heads to ensure they remain watertight and then building them up with additional weld material, explained Chase Dewhirst, manager of marine engineering for AMI Consulting Engineers.

Townsend expects the ship will return to the water and its berth in Minnesota Slip, behind the DECC, by mid-month and said if weather conditions permit, it could make the trip across the harbor as soon as next week. Brook Benes of Wren Works LLC is expected to oversee the movement of the ship, as he did the Irvin's voyage from Duluth to Fraser in September to Fraser in September 2018.

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