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(American Republic 1981 - 2011)
by Todd Davidson
Each propeller has two sets of rudders. Two are found in the normal position behind the Kort Nozzle. The other two rudders are flanking rudders placed in front of the nozzle. The rudders are controlled by a sophisticated system that controls which rudders are used depending on the pitch of the propellers and position for the wheel.
Her name is derived from the one time owners of the steel mill she would serve, Republic Steel, in which she would deliver taconite pellets from the Lorain Pellet Terminal in Lorain, Ohio. There had been many ideas in easier ways to deliver ore to the mill, including a long conveyor that would carry the pellets from a lakefront dock all the way up to the Republic mill, but this plan was soon scrapped due to the numerous disturbances it would cause along its route.
The pilot house of the American Republic is placed as far back as possible to give the deck officers the best view of the often needed twists and turns. There is not a blocked view within the pilot house, which has four operating/controlling stations within.
At 634'10" (193.50m) loa x
68' (20.73m) beam x 40'
(12.19m) depth, her capacity at a mid-summer draft of 28'04" (8.61m) is approximately
24,800 tons (25,198.39 tonnes). Before the closing of LTV Steel she would make
regular trips to the steel mill at the head of Cuyahoga River. Due to the shallow draft
restrictions of the Cuyahoga it
limits her to around 20,000 tons (20,321.28 tonnes) per trip. She could usually
complete a round trip
from Lorain to Cleveland and back within a days time. The Republic has a
very high block-coefficient of boats her size because of the design of moving
her all aft quarters as far back as possible and utilizing short twin
rudders, allowing her Kort Nozzles positioned extremely aft. She can carry
approximately 1,000 tons (1,016.06 tonnes) more of another conventional vessel of her size.
LTV Steel was purchased by ISG in 2002. The Cleveland Mill reopened and the Republic spent most of the season working the lakes in other trades. The Republic's high capacity for her size should guarantee many more successful seasons for the unique and maneuverable vessel.
With the expiry of American Steamship's long-term lease for the American Republic in the spring of 2011, on June 2, 2011 the vessel departed her lay-up berth at Toledo, OH bearing her new name Great Republic. The Great Republic is now sailing under the management of Key Lakes Inc., Duluth, MN for the Great Lakes Fleet. The self-unloader was bound for Marquette, MI on her first trip under her new name to load iron ore for Toledo.
Detroit River, Dec. 3, 2001.