Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Great Republic

So my next stop was Belle Isle for some more shipwatching.  I saw that there would be two ships coming down the river in fairly rapid succession.   As I said in my posts yesterday, I'm not sure how much longer the shipping season will last this year, so I figured I would head down.

It's probably a good thing because I noticed that ice is starting to form on the Detroit River.  I could see some little sheets of ice floating down the River.
 My first ship of the day was the Great Republic.  She was constructed at the Bay Shipbuilding Company in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in 1981.  She was built for the American Steamship Company and originally named the American Republic.
 Her owners needed a ship that was designed to go into the winding Cuyahoga River.  This ship with her eight rudders, twin diesels, bow and stern thrusters fit the bill pefectly.
 Her name is derived from the mill she would serve, the Republic Steel Company.  Many ways were devised to get the taconite pellets to her but it was decided the best way would be to go through the river.
 You can see some of the ice that was forming on the bow.
 She is 634 feet long and 68 feet wide.  She is powered with 7,200 horsepower.  Her capacity is almost 25,000 tons of cargo.
 The Pilothouse is situated as far back as possible to give the deck officers the best view possible of the twists and turns of the river.  There is not a blocked view from the pilothouse.
 In 1996, she had the honor of carrying the Olympic Torch from Detroit to Cleveland.  A large cauldron was put on her deck and was lit.  She departed from the Hart River Plaza Dock and arrived in Cleveland and docked at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
 In 2002, she started to carry other cargos as the mill she was servicing was sold to another company.
 In 2011, her lease expired and she was picked up by the Great Lakes Fleet and given her current name.
As I've often said before, some of the ships that ply the lakes have pretty interesting histories.

No comments: