NOME, Alaska — The tanker vessel Renda and the Coast Guard Cutter Healy arrived just offshore of Nome Saturday at 5:13 p.m. and preparations are commencing to ensure a safe fuel transfer.
Once all equipment for the fuel delivery is in place, the fuel transfer operations from the tanker vessel Renda will commence during daylight hours after a joint Coast Guard and State of Alaska overview. Plans are in place to actively monitor the fuel transfer to ensure the highest standards of environmental safety are met.
Crews will have to wait up to 12 hours after the arrival of the ships to ensure that all the broken and disturbed ice has refrozen allowing safe operations to take place around the ships.
"We are dedicated to completing a safe fuel delivery," said Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, Coast Guard District 17 commander. "The Captains and crews of the Healy and the Renda have done a tremendous job getting to Nome safely, but the work of the Coast Guard, our partners, and industry personnel is far from over as we shift to shoreside operations. The last thing that we want to happen during this operation is to have an injury or an accident."
Throughout the duration of the transfer operations, persons and vehicles will be restricted from areas 50 yards around fuel delivery hoses and 100 yards from the tanker Renda per an established Coast Guard safety zone. These areas will be marked with wooden survey stakes. In addition, the fuel transfer hose will be lit during hours of darkness.
The Healy and Renda crews departed Dutch Harbor Jan. 3 and arrived to the ice edge Jan. 6. The vessels then traversed dynamic and changing Bering Sea ice conditions for more than 300 nautical miles.
“This is a huge milestone having both ships safely moored in Nome. There has been tremendous teamwork taking place on the ground in Nome as well as on the sea between the Healy and the Renda to safely offload this fuel,” said Jason Evans of Sitnasauk Native Corporation.