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. And given the tough conditions, the ships have begun to take breaks at night to allow the crews to rest up for the next day.
There is no set arrival date as the vessels move though some of the toughest ice they will encounter. Kathleen Cole from the National Weather Service Ice Desk says the current icepack is dense and pressurized.
The Renda became lodged in ice several times throughout the weekend. Coast Guard spokesperson Sarah Francis was aboard a C-130 flying over the vessels late last week. She says a variety of icebreaking techniques are used with the Healy escort.
The vessels should get a bit of a break later tonight as they enter ice that’s thinner and less pressurized.
In Nome, teams from Sitnasuak and partners were double checking equipment and going over the last details of emergency plans. Jason Evans, the Sitnasuak Board Chair says State Regulators and Coast Guard personnel got a close look at the equipment and conditions for the upcoming fuel transfer.
John Kotula, the Manager of the Marine Vessels section for the DEC, says crews used the daylight hours today to get oriented with the situation at the port.
And in the air, a research team launched an unmanned aerial vehicle to photograph ice conditions near the port. The team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks is helping to gather data to help chart the tanker’s final approach.
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