January 11th, 2012
08:52 AM ET

Ice stops progress of Alaska fuel convoy

The Coast Guard icebreaker and Russian fuel tanker trying to resupply icebound Nome, Alaska, made no progress on Tuesday, a Coast Guard spokesperson said early Wednesday.

Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis confirmed an online report from Alaska Dispatch that the Russian-flagged fuel tanker, the Renda, only advanced about 50 feet on Tuesday. That was in stark contrast to what the Renda and the icebreaker, the Coast Guard cutter Healy, did on Monday, when they battled through 50 miles of the ice-covered Bering Sea.

The ships are about 100 miles from Nome, a town of 3,600 on Alaska's western coast.

“Tough sledding. Healy is trying to free Renda right now from an ice ridge,” Carter Whalen, president of Alaska Marine Pilots, told Alaska Dispatch in an email. The pilot aboard the Renda, Pete Garay, confirmed the situation.

The two-ship convoy carrying 1.3 million gallons of fuel had hoped to make it to Nome by late Thursday or early Friday, but that was before Tuesday's standstill.

The Sitnasuak Native Corp. of Nome contracted the Renda to deliver the fuel after ice formed over the Bering Sea in the wake of a ferocious November storm that prevented the last delivery of the season via barge.

It is the first attempt to supply fuel to an Arctic Alaska settlement through sea ice.

Nome is in no immediate danger of running out of fuel, Coast Guard Capt. Craig Lloyd, who is coordinating the mission, said earlier. The town has enough fuel to last until about March, but the delivery was attempted now because it would have been even more difficult then, he said.

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Filed under: Alaska • U.S. Coast Guard • Weather • Winter weather
soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. Curt

    Fuel can be delived anywhere in the world by plane in a matter of hours, when deployed are whole area ran on generators in the desert, and this fuel was delivered by plane, as far as a back up plan if it dosent thaw, they can drive it by truck across the ice to its destination.

    January 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mac11

      10,000 gallons? really? By plane? then by truck over ice? How many trips and years do you think that will take?

      January 11, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. F

      For the right price, anything can be delivered anywhere.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Curt'sanidiot


      January 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • singak4ever

      I would like tosee you drive a truck on the rough alaskan tundra, and on the ice river roads where it has not been plowed. Now i have a question for you. How lone do you think you can last out there on the Alaskan Tarrain?

      January 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlie

      Did you miss the ice part of the problem?

      January 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oodoodanoo

      Or they could bore a hole through the earth to just under Saudi Arabia, and let the oil leak back.

      January 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • FairbanksAk

      Man, the way you talk you'd think Alaska was on another planet, learn some geography. There are NO roads to Nome. You CANNOT drive across the tundra, nor the sea ice. Both are too rough and the sea ice is continually shifting and heaving. Nome is hundreds of miles from the nearest road service. The airfield in Nome is not large enough for big cargo planes, so many little planes would be needed to make hundreds of trips, and guess what – with weather conditions there would be many days planes couldn't fly in/out.

      January 11, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ronster

    Global climate change brought about by the ignorance of humans.

    January 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • James70094


      January 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • God

      Humans are ignorant; you are human; therefore...................

      January 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. a disaster!

    global cooling out of control

    January 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Eastvillage

    Alaska Iced in. Winter in the Arctic. Guess the polar bears won't be drowning this year.
    Normal. Climate is doing its thing.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Can you tell me the last time that 18 feet of snow fell in Alaska in one storm? Our weather is clearly becoming more extreme. That is undeniable! 🙂

      January 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • brandonious

      Hmmm. Normal you say?? Warmer in Montana in January than in Miami, Florida. Yep, sounds perfectly normal to me.

      January 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Um, Mike.. Global Warming is supposed to produce milder winters..

      January 11, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pjh_canuck

    Call the Canadians or the Russians, the Healy is a medium class icebreaker; bring in something suitable to the task. Largest navy in the world and the arctic is too much for it.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      Heh, yeah. Russia has something like 25 ice breakers, 8 of which are heavy ice breakers. You guys have a dozen ice breakers, or something respectable like that. We have 2 heavy ice breakers, 1 of which is out of commission. Go us!

      Doesn't bode well, especially since the Arctic is expected to see increased activity if the sea ice continues to thin.

      January 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • buddhabill

      Hey, I got a great idea: Why doesn't the tanker get BEHIND the Healy? That way when the Healy moves forward, the tanker can too.

      January 11, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • canadian66

      they always want to do everything themselves,so screw em we won`t get re-embursed anyway

      January 11, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. lauragraff

    Hope they get the fuel the Alaskan village needs. Heres a little joke. How does an Alaskan make home
    repairs? With Ig gloo.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jimbo

    Nice! Now they're using Aeryon drones to survey ice in Nome harbor before tanker's arrival

    January 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rrock

    What will they do when the oil starts to run out and the price goes through the roof.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Northerner

      Don't panic. You have 100 years of oil & gas supply left in the continental US. Too bad the Eco-fascists won't let you drill it.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    What is going on in pic 3? Let's get some captions relevant to the photos.

    January 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • CPW

      They just got their hands on a new 4X4 and are doing smokey donuts in the snow.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • canadian66

      round and we go were she stops nobody knows

      January 11, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. cheesecake chick

    1.3 million gallons of fuel would require 200 truck loads on a Coast Guard approved carrier and drivers with TWIC cards. Good luck with that idea.

    January 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Curt'sanidiot

      Curt's dumb.

      January 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Curt Plummer is that you?

    Curt!?!?!?! I haven't seen you since you left the Hyperscale forums years ago!

    January 11, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. nolazy

    send in Al Gore and some liberals to melt the ice.

    January 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Marci


    January 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ray

    if the barge gets stuck in the ice, will the pressure crack the ship? can we have another oil spill??

    January 11, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Pliny

    Deliver it by DOGSLED!!!!

    It worked before.

    January 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
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