ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Russian tanker Renda, which is making a winter fuel delivery to Nome, is less than 200 nautical miles from its destination Saturday. The ship made good progress toward the iced-in port Friday night, according to the company that contracted it.
Vitus Marine LLC spokesperson Stacey Smith says the Renda and the Coast Guard icebreaker Healy were stopped against an ice ridge just before dawn Saturday and waited until daylight to proceed. As of 8 a.m. Saturday, the Renda was passing Hooper Bay headed north.
Smith says matching the two vessels’ speeds and maintaining a safe distance between them has been an ongoing struggle.
“When the speed of the Healy is reduced (due to ice conditions) the Renda needs to be much closer, whereas maintaining higher speeds allows for the vessels to remain farther apart,” Smith wrote in a statement. “The RENDA occasionally will get squeezed in a ridge if the HEALY is too far out ahead. The HEALY then has to circle around and make a ‘relief cut’ so they can proceed.”