|Before this season, the American Republic had not been here since 2002. Today, it is here, or rather was here, to load taconite for the third time this season. It was set to leave very early this morning, and, as the season winds down, is the only arrival or departure for the Twin Ports today. Above, the boat’s self unloader is up in the air on a visit here on July 15, 2002, there to allow taconite pellets to be dumped into the cargo holds. At the other end of the trip, the self unloader, not surprisingly, will be used to discharge the pellets using a series of conveyor belts. It was built specifically to carry taconite pellets from Lorain, Ohio, 35 miles up Lake Erie to Cleveland and then up the Cuyahoga River to the LTV Steel plant. But it obviously is available for much longer trips periodically.