Alaska fuel convoy back on track
The Coast Guard Cutter Healy, right, breaks ice around the Russian tanker Renda about 250 miles south of Nome on January 6.
January 12th, 2012
05:48 PM ET

Alaska fuel convoy back on track

A Coast Guard icebreaker and a Russian tanker trying to resupply icebound Nome, Alaska, are once again advancing on the coastal town after a nearly two-day pause in the Bering Sea.

The U.S. Coast Guard's only operating Arctic icebreaker, the Cutter Healy, and the Russian fuel tanker Renda were about 67 nautical miles from Nome on Thursday morning, Lt. Veronica Colbath, a Coast Guard spokeswoman, said.

The vessels had made virtually no progress for much of Tuesday and Wednesday, when they were about 100 nautical miles out, according to the Coast Guard. The pause was due in part because the Healy had to free the Renda from an ice ridge on Tuesday, the Alaska Dispatch reported.

Officials are tentatively hoping the ships, carrying 1.3 million gallons of fuel, will arrive at Nome this weekend, Colbath said.

The Healy is escorting the Renda through the ice-covered waters in the first-ever attempt to supply fuel to an Arctic Alaska settlement through sea ice. The ships will have broken through 300 miles of ice by voyage's end.

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.

Nome isn't in 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.

Corporation officials considered flying in fuel, but it would have taken more than 300 flights, each carrying 4,000 to 5,000 gallons, to meet the town's needs, said Jason Evans, chairman of Sitnasuak Native Corp.

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Ally Buster

    I have little sympathy for people who chose to live in such a place.

    January 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • snow in alaska, lots

      I live in Anchorage, Ak and this state is beautiful. If you have nothing intelligent to say maybe you should refrain yourself from posting stupid comments.

      January 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Don't think they need or even want your sympathy!

      January 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      I'm from Kenai, Alaska. Your comment is from someone who has zero clue about Alaska. Like the poster above insinuated, you're an idiot. I bet you couldn't survive a month in Nome; Alaskans are a tough bunch of adventurers for the most part.

      January 12, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • doofus

      such a place? lolwut?

      January 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally Buster Hater

      You my friend are idiot. All the problems in our world, and to say something like that. Your mommy and Daddy don't love you, take it out on them.

      January 12, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally Buster Hater

      I have no sympathy for you Ally. Travel the world, open your mind....better yet, try to use it for the first time. Idiot!!

      January 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • chelsea12345

      Oh no! how ever will they sleep tonight without your sympathy??

      January 12, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • DWSherwin

      Been to Alaska and found it to be the most beautiful state I have ever been to. The people that live there put up with a lot to live in that paradise. Your dis'ing the state has to be out of ignorance. If you ever visited Alaska you would change your mind.

      January 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • ks

      People with your attiditude should stay at home, don't even bother visiting. Wonder how you would feel if it were your family member? We have the best Coast Guard EVER!!

      January 12, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • lewtwo

      II have been unfortunate to have lived in Alaska. Those who choose to are welcome to it.

      January 12, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Forrest

      That's ok. We don't want your sympathy. In fact, maybe that's why we live here, to be isolated from people like you?

      Happy in Alaska forever.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Scott

    Why not let the USAF do practice bombing runs ahead of the convoy instead of blowing up desert sand let them bomb the ice

    January 12, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Concussion, similar to a depth charge, would probably rupture the tanker's hull. That ice closes fast so they would have to bomb too close to the oiler!

      January 12, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      If the USAF gets involved, why not have them simply use their flying fuel tankers to directly air-lift in the fuel.

      January 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian Beckwith

      Josh: Nome is a small community. It's airport is way too small to handle anything like a KC-135 or a KC-10.

      January 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Josh you clearly did not read the article, flying would have taken over 300 flights, and it is not a job for the military

      January 12, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • lewtwo

      That is exactly how outlying DEW lines used to get their fuel.

      January 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Darlene M Edwards

    Has anyone thought what these (Afghan's) do to our service men and women when they are captured? Maybe you people should go to the hospitals and see some of our service men and women who have been wounded. No legs, arms, burns. How many service people have given their lives for this country???????

    January 12, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • snow in alaska, lots

      How does your comment have anything to do with this article, totally unrelated ???????

      January 12, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Don't think we have any missing or American POWs in Afghanistan!

      January 12, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • BoredSecurityGaurd.

      you should prolly take a double dose of whatever medication you're on cause it obviously isn't working.....What does Afghanistan have to go with Alaska???

      January 12, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Darlene your supposed to hit the Post button, not the Retard Switch, do you see a war in Alaska?????

      January 12, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Glen

    CGC Healy Ship's Characteristics

    Length, Overall

    420'0" (128 meters)

    Beam, Maximum

    82'0" (25 meters)

    Draft, Full Load

    29'3" (8.9 meters)

    Displacement, Full Load

    16,000 LT


    Diesel Electric,
    AC/AC Cycloconvertor

    Generating Plant
    Drive Motors

    4 Sultzer 12Z AU40S
    2 AC Synchronous, 11.2 MW

    Shaft Horsepower

    30,000 Max HP


    2 Fixed Pitch, 4 Bladed

    Auxiliary Generator

    EMD 16-645F7B, 2400kW

    Fuel Capacity

    1,220,915 GAL (4,621,000 liters)

    Cruising Speed

    12 knots @ 105 RPM

    Max Speed

    17 knots @ 147 RPM

    Icebreaking Capability

    4.5 ft @ 3 knots (continuous)
    8 ft (2.44 m) Backing and Ramming

    Science Labs

    Main, Bio-Chemical, Electronics, Meteorological, Photography


    19 Officer, 12 CPO, 54 Enlisted, 35 Scientists, 15 Surge, 2 Visitors

    January 12, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ally Buster Hater

    I hope your house burns down. Then people from Alaska send you money and clothes. After that, repost...idiot. And I don't live in Alaska. I snowmobile, and I surf. So I have no problem with hot or cold, but I would live in Alaska, less morons like Ally. Praise stupid people. Ally is a moron

    January 12, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NanookoftheNorth

    I was going to stick up for Alaskans after that first comment but looks several of you already did that.....good job ! 🙂

    January 12, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Victor

    How come the U.S. Coast Guard only has one operating ice breaker?

    January 12, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      2 are in dry dock. 1, the Mackinaw, is in the great lakes!

      January 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Harin

    Victor, I was wondering the same thing. If that one ship is damaged does that mean America has no more ice breakers?

    January 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Russia has the world's biggest plus a few smaller. Canada has a big one that operates in the St. Laurence seaway. Germany has one large breaker. We could probably lease one?

      January 12, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Trish

    The lack of icebreakers is probably another result of the current hoo-ha over cutting the deficit, the idiots don't have a clue what they are doing. Despite all the hoo-ha, the deficit would go away on its own if we all had jobs, maybe a few on icebreakers !!

    January 12, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      Russia has 9 nuclear powered icebreakers; they should have had one of them in the convoy. It can break through ice at 10 knots, faster than conventionally powered breakers. One thing Russia knows how to handle well is cold weather!

      January 12, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Bob is so right! With the Northwest passage opening up and all the interest in oil drilling in the Arctic, the US is really unprepared for protecting our strategic interests in that part of the world!

      January 12, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bob

    I wish I were in AK right now. Here in Pennsylvania we are having a lousy ski season.

    January 12, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cosmo

    Maybe they should place their order of fuel earlier in the season. Just a thought!

    January 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sativap Beatot

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    July 17, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |