Russian Fuel Tanker Struggling to Reach Alaska Port

Russian Fuel Tanker Struggling to Reach Alaska Port

Photo: AP/US Coast Guard

Nome, Alaska is ice bound and is facing a shortage of gasoline and diesel because missed the last scheduled barge delivery of fuel. This particular barge was scheduled to have arrived in Nome in the fall but had to be cancelled because of the worst storm in decades hit the northwest coast of Alaska. On Wednesday, the Russian tanker, Renda, and their escort, a U. S. Coast Guard ice cutter, Healy, was struggling to get through the ice-choked, treacherous seas to deliver one point three million gallons of diesel and gasoline fuel.

This is the first ever attempt of a marine delivery in winter to Alaska. As of Wednesday, the two ships were about one hundred miles south of Nome in the Bering Sea. On Sunday and Monday the two ships only managed to travel sixty-eight miles but lost some mileage because of the shifting ice pushing the vessels backward. They are not sure just when the ships will reach their destination.

Getting the two ships to their destination is only part of their mission. Once they arrive they have to make sure that they safely transfer the fuel and then get both of the ships safely back to open water. This is just one of many problems that Alaska has suffered so far this winter. They are dealing with record snows all over the state accompanied by the threat of avalanches. The only highway that leads south out of Anchorage and the tunnel were re-opened on Wednesday.