DUTCH HARBOR, Alaska-Slow but steady, the Russian oil tanker Renda continues on its course to the port of Dutch Harbor. The vessel should be in the vicinity within about two days, where it will be then inspected and if all goes well, will be deemed fit to navigate in U.S. waters.
Also while in the port of Dutch Harbor, the tanker will need to qualify for a waiver to pump on gasoline at the port for transport to Nome.
Delays in arrival and fierce storms hampered the delivery of fuel to Nome this fall, and now, as shortages loom, measures involving the Coast Guard Cutter Healy and Russian oil tanker Renda have been taken to meet those fuel needs. The Renda, along with her cutter escort will have to navigate through roughly three hundred miles of ice to bring their cargo to that northern city.
Delivery in Nome is tentatively set for sometime in the middle of January. The delivery will be the first in history. No other deliveries have ever been made in a Western Alaska community during the winter. Terrific ice and icing conditions plague the Bering Sea during the winter months as well as intense storms that can make sea travel all but impossible.