Supporting the Winter Fuel Delivery to Nome, Alaska
Photo: Fuel being delivered to the city of Nome, Alaska, from a tanker.
Fuel being delivered to the city of Nome, Alaska, the week of January 19, 2012, from the Russian tanker Renda. (USCG)

After an expedition lasting several weeks, the U.S. Coast Guard successfully escorted the delivery of 1.3 million gallons of fuel to Nome, Alaska.

The city of Nome was running short of fuel after a severe storm last fall left the port icebound, preventing regular fuel barges from reaching the area.

This led to the unusual winter delivery to resupply the remote community. The Office of Response and Restoration worked with the Coast Guard during these efforts.

JANUARY 23, 2012 -- After an expedition lasting several weeks, the U.S. Coast Guard successfully escorted the delivery of 1.3 million gallons of fuel to Nome, Alaska.

The city of Nome was running short of fuel after a severe storm last fall left the port icebound, preventing regular fuel barges from reaching the area.

This led to the unusual winter delivery to resupply the remote community. The Office of Response and Restoration worked with the Coast Guard during these efforts.

At times the Coast Guard icebreaker Healy and the Russian tanker Renda barely crept along in their journey to Nome, breaking through hundreds of miles of thick sea ice along the way.

Finally, however, the vessels safely reached their destination, completing the fuel delivery on January 19, 2012. Nome is located on the northern edge of the Bering Sea, along the far western corner of the state.

Once the ships reached Nome, the tanker was deliberately frozen in place during the fuel transfer. Two parallel hoses stretched more than 500 yards across the ice between the tanker and the onshore storage tanks near the harbor. One hose carried gasoline and the other carried diesel fuel. The pumping operation lasted approximately 60 hours.

With the successful fuel transfer, the Office of Response and Restoration has concluded our support for planning in the event of a spill, but NOAA continues to provide weather and ice information to assist with the vessels' outbound transit through the ice-pack.

Read an earlier account of the ships' journey on the Office of Response and Restoration blog.