ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Russian tanker is once again headed for the iced-in port of Nome after taking on all available unleaded gasoline at Dutch Harbor as cargo, then returning there for minor engine repairs.
Vitus Marine LLC, the company that contracted the Renda on behalf of Bonanza Fuel, says the ship was repaired at anchor Wednesday evening, just outside of Dutch Harbor at Broad Bay.
"It was better to have it anchor and have an assist tug along," said Mark Smith, Vitus Marine’s CEO.
According to supply and logistics manager Michail Shestakov, the ship was having problems with an engine exhaust valve that required shutting down the engines. It was determined that it was safer to return to Dutch Harbor to replace the part.
Smith said the part was replaced ahead of schedule, and the Renda departed Dutch Harbor before midnight.
Shestakov told Channel 2 that the Coast Guard icebreaker Healy is traveling about four nautical miles ahead of the Renda, which is forging ahead into strong northerly winds.
"It's a bit stormy -- it's not a tropical paradise," Shestakov said.
In a Thursday press release, Vitus Marine said it anticipates the Renda’s arrival in Nome with 1.4 million gallons of petroleum products on or near Jan. 9, after passing through 300 miles of sea ice.