ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Russian tanker heading to the ice-locked community of Nome to deliver fuel was forced to turn back to Dutch Harbor Wednesday evening due to a maintenance alarm.
The Renda had departed Dutch Harbor earlier in the day to make the historic journey, but Mark Smith with Vitus Marine LLC, the company that hired the Renda for the fuel delivery, says the decision was made to turn back for a valve replacement on the vessel. Smith says it is expected to head out of Dutch Harbor at one o'clock Thursday morning.
Before the Renda departed Dutch Harbor Wednesday morning, two reporters covering the history-making fuel delivery were asked to get off of the vessel by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. One of the reporters, veteran journalist Jim Paulin with the Dutch Harbor Frontiersman says he was told that his being on the ship was a violation of the Jones Act, required for a foreign vessel to transport goods between two American ports.
Paulin says a reporter with KUCB out of Unalaska was also asked to leave.
"It's unfortunate the federal government had to be so uncooperative but they must have their reasons," Paulin said.
The Renda is carrying more than 1 million gallons of diesel fuel and 400,000 gallons of gasoline. It should take four or five days for the tanker to travel the 700 miles to Nome.