Ben Matheson, KNOM - Nome
Ben Matheson is a reporter at KNOM in Nome.
The Russian ice-breaking tanker Renda could begin pumping fuel today. Crews spent yesterday pulling thousands of feet of hose from the vessel and creating a smooth path across the ice.
The Renda and Healy appeared offshore last night. But Nome residents are still waiting for the delivery of their fuel.
The tanker Renda and ice-breaker Healy have arrived in the area of the ice-choked Nome harbor. A safety zone has been set up to keep people away from the vessels and the hose that will likely be used to deliver fuel.
The Renda and Healy may be close to Nome by late tonight.
Wednesday has been a day of logistics for the Healy and Renda. The ships have not moved toward Nome since Tuesday. The Healy had to get into position to launch its helicopter this morning.
The tanker Renda and ice-breaker Healy moved just 7 miles yesterday in a full day of work. Coast Guard Petty Officer Grant DeVuyst says that after covering an impressive 53 miles on Monday, the vessels hit pressurized ice Tuesday and ground to a near halt. They are now around 90 miles south of Nome.
The Renda and Healy continue to slog through difficult ice conditions. They were 110 miles south of Nome this afternoon. The vessels made it just 32 miles closer to Nome this weekend.
It has been slower going than anticipated through the rapidly thickening Bering Sea ice for the Russian tanker Renda and the Coast Guard icebreaker Healy. As of last evening they were still 165 miles from their destination of Nome.
The Renda and Healy have been moving through the ice since midnight. With the vessels 2 and a-half days out, the operation is now moving into its critical phase as people and equipment mobilize to Nome.
The Renda is steaming north at 11 knots with the icebreaker Healy close by. The vessels are set to reach the ice edge around noon Friday and break through 390 miles of ice. The fuel is now expected to make it to Nome on Monday.
Five hours into its journey north, the Renda turned around and returned to Dutch Harbor for repairs. About 10 miles north of port, State Marine Pilot Captain Pete Garay reported a mechanical issue after observing the tanker moving slower than expected in rough weather, averaging around three knots.
The Renda is on its way to Nome. The tanker departed Dutch Harbor Wednesday morning at 9:50 with the icebreaker Healy close behind.
The price of the fuel to customers in Nome after the upcoming fuel delivery is still to be determined. Nomeites may be spared the cost of gas at $9 a gallon, but the operation to deliver fuel with icebreaker support is not cheap for the government agencies involved.
The Russian tanker Renda loaded gasoline Tuesday afternoon in Dutch Harbor following the completion of its port state control exam. The Renda is set to depart late Tuesday for Nome.
The Russian tanker Renda is arriving in Dutch Harbor Monday to load gasoline and be inspected before heading through the ice to Nome.
The Nome Police Department responded Friday afternoon to reports of a body found on the beach west of town. Police identified the deceased as 58-year-old Napolean Bergamaschi.
The Department of Homeland Security has granted a Jones Act waiver for the Russian tanker Renda to load gasoline in Dutch Harbor before heading through the ice to Nome.
Vitus Marine, the company contracted to help get fuel delivered to Nome, is hoping to hear back Friday on the status of the Jones Act waiver for the Russian tanker Renda. The waiver is necessary for the tanker to be able to load gasoline in Dutch Harbor.
The Russian Tanker Renda is steaming towards Dutch Harbor to pick up 400,000 gallons of gasoline bound for Nome. But it must first receive a waiver of the Jones Act, or it will turn north and deliver diesel fuel only.
A State Trooper was in Gambell on Wednesday to investigate the death of a 34-year-old Savoonga man— Stanley Rookok, who had gone missing last week while on a short trip to get water.