Healy breaks path to Nome

UPDATE: Video of the ships breaking through the ice is available on YouTube and in the Coast Guard Visual Information Gallery.

CGC Healy breaks ice for Russian tanker

The Coast Guard Cutter Healy escorts the Russian-flagged tanker vessel Renda 250 miles south of Nome, Alaska, Jan. 6, 2012. The vessels are transiting through ice up to five-feet thick in this area. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis.

The Coast Guard has a long history of braving harsh Alaskan elements to rescue mariners in distress, protect the U.S. interests in the international waters, conduct Arctic research as well as bring much needed supplies to remote Alaska villages.

The Service’s latest Arctic mission to help bring fuel to the ice-encrusted harbor of Nome is just one of the ways we continue to honor those traditions.

CGC Healy escorts Russian tanker

Healy approaches the Russian-flagged tanker vessel Renda while breaking ice around the vessel 250 miles south of Nome, Alaska, Jan. 6, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis.

The Coast Guard Cutter Healy, our nation’s only operating polar ice breaker, is on scene breaking ice and leading the way for the Russian-flagged tanker vessel Renda into Nome. The ice stretches from the harbor about 300 miles. Healy can break a path to within a half mile of the entrance to Nome but is unable to get any closer due to the depth of the water. From this point, there are a number of options being explored to get the fuel the remainder of the way including using a fuel hose from the barge to shore.

“This has been and continues to be a highly orchestrated effort between all stakeholders to ensure mission success,” said Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, commander 17th Coast Guard District. “Our daily discussions will continue with our federal, state, local, tribal partners and the marine industry to ensure the highest standards of safety and compliance are in place to mitigate risks to the people of Nome, the crews of the vessels and the environment.”

The city had arranged to have a barge deliver fuel in the fall, but the historic November storm delayed the delivery. By the time the weather cleared, Nome was iced-in.

You can read more about the Healy’s support and the overall operation on the 17th Coast Guard District news site.

Craving more images? Get high-resolution photos in the mission’s Flickr photo set or check out the hourly images from the bridge of the Healy as it cuts through the ice.

CGC Healy breaks ice for Russian tanker

The Russian-flagged tanker Renda, carrying more than 1.3 million gallons of fuel, sits in the ice while the Coast Guard Cutter Healy crew breaks the ice around the tanker approximately 19 miles northwest of Nunivak Island Jan. 6, 2012. The cutter Healy crew is escorting the Renda crew to Nome, Alaska, where the tanker crew will offload the needed fuel to the city. U.S. Coast Guard photo by cutter Healy.

CGC Healy breaks ice for Russian tanker

The Coast Guard Cutter Healy breaks ice around the Russian-flagged tanker Renda 250 miles south of Nome Jan. 6, 2012. The Healy is the Coast Guard's only currently operating polar icebreaker. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis.

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