Russian rescue: Alaskan emergency brings first ever winter fuel delivery

A Russian tanker is carrying an emergency fuel delivery through thick ice to the Alaskan city of Nome, where a severe storm has left roughly 3,500 people without enough fuel to last through the harsh northern winter.

­The Renda set out in December and is now less than 200 nautical miles from its destination. Accompanied by a Coast Guard icebreaker Healy, it is carrying more than 3.8 million liters of petroleum.

On January 6, the Renda encountered ice in the eastern Bering Sea, but is more than capable of making it through – even if the ice is several feet thick.

For the Russian icebreaker to successfully complete its mission, all parties involved must constantly work on refining the best plan of action. That includes ship owners and agents, crews of both the Renda and the Healy as well as Alaskan Marine Pilots.

A team of public and private specialists has been working hard on the logistics of the venture, with weather and ice routing experts from all over the world supplying the mission with daily updates.

The mission is due to reach Nome by Monday morning, and will be marked as the first ever fuel delivery to Western Alaska in the heart of winter.

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