Renda Could Pumping Fuel Today

Photo courtesy of the US Coast Guard: The Kigluaik Mountains can be viewed as the Russian tanker Renda transits toward the Port of Nome Jan. 13, 2012. The Renda has been assisted by the Coast Guard Cutter Healy since the vessels left Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

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 delivery plan requires that the initial fuel transfer begin during the daytime, according to Sitnasuak Native corporation Board Chair Jason Evans.

The final distance from the Renda to Nome fuel intake headers is about 1400 feet.  The transfer team is using a few hundred feet of extra hose to navigate around uneven ice and provide for some slack in case the Renda moves.  Transferring 1.3 million gallons of fuel could take up to 48 hours.

Over the weekend dignitaries began arriving in Nome for the historic event.  Senator Lisa Murkowski among them, as well as he Commander for the Coast Guard in Alaska, Rear Admiral Thomas P. Osteboe.

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Ben Matheson is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network.

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