For weeks now we have been hearing
about the fuel barge carrying 1.3 gallons to Nome.
The latest recorded barge date was November 9th.
Usually they stop coming to the Arctic in October because of the ice and safety concerns.
But this year, fuel ordered in May was never shipped.
The barge company put it off and then had a mechanical
and it .... just never happened.
As winter began, the Sitnasauk Native Corporation knew they
didn't have enough fuel for their customers.
Crowley (the other fuel company in town)
offered to sell them some, but didn't have enough for everyone in town
for the entire winter.
A barge was scheduled for November
and then we had a BIG storm canceling the trip.
Then it was December and all sorts of options were considered.
Finally a barge was located in Russia.
Fuel was to be bought in Korea...Japan..
and transported to Nome.
But it didn't work out.
More hair pulling, teeth gnashing, ideas thrown about.
Then, after many hoops were jumped through,
papers signed, people onboard,
an ice breaker committed to the trip, and fuel located,
they loaded up in Dutch Harbor, Alaska and
the trek began for the Healy and Renda and their dedicated crews.
|Photo by Alaska Dispatch|
What was supposed to take four days is now on day ten,
but the are on Nome's coastline!
|Coming into town from the north we could see both boats.|
|The Healy, one of two Coast Guard Ice Breakers, |
cut a grid back and forth across the coastline south of Nome.
|A newbie needed pulled out when he decided to park off of the plowed road.|
|The Healy near the end of the port. In the summer this is where barges|
dock to off-load their cargo.
|The Renda continued to move closer to town as the Healy kept the path open.|
|A Coast Guard helicopter has been watching from the air most of the trip.|
They found a spot to dock at 5:13 PM tonight
close enough to use their 4", one mile long hose to offload.
After being stationary for 12 hours they can begin to transfer the fuel.
Tomorrow should be the day.....