Duluth greeted its first oceangoing vessel of the season over the weekend, as the Dutch-flagged Albanyborg passed beneath the Aerial Lift Bridge at 7:41 p.m Sunday, April 3.

In a ceremony Monday afternoon to mark the event, local dignitaries gathered on the ship's bridge, where they presented its captain, Igor Bunenkov of Ukraine, with gifts.

The 472-foot-long Albanyborg began its journey by being the first to also enter the St. Lawrence Seaway on March 23.

The ship brought wind turbine components from Emden, Germany, to Port Colborne, Ontario. After making the delivery, the Albanyborg continued westward to Duluth to receive a load of grain.

Bunenkov reported smooth sailing on the Great Lakes and sparse ice. Thanks in part to a mild spring and an early opening of the seaway, the Albanyborg arrived on the early side, historically. The earliest recorded arrival of a saltie in Duluth was March 30, and the slowest start to oceangoing traffic was May 7.

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