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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  • Jankitzf_

    :O hello soi colombiano quisiera servirle a ustedes temgo 17 años quisiera trabajar en estados unidos ayudenme mi nombre es  jancarlos romero gonzalez i mi face :jancarlos jm .

  • Bob Lyden

    Great Pictures and Coverage of this story

  • Larry Lesniak

    I wholeheartedly agree that this is great coverage and I love the photos and video links.  The situation also points out the dire need for our Coast Guard to build its heavy icebreaking capability.  With both heavy polar icebreakers (Polar Sea and Polar Star) out of commission and a growing need for capabilities in the arctic it’s imperative that the development and/or acquisition of new heavy icebreakers be prioritized.  The Healy is an outstanding vessel but its icebreaking capability does not match that of the two polar class cutters that are currently laid up.  The ship and its crew will continue to do outstanding work on this and other missions and I look forward to future updates from the far north.

  • Charlie_drumm

    Absolutely agree with you Larry.  Time for Congress to belly up on this issue. 

  • Capt. Hartman

    I was a helo pilot in the Norhtwind’s Arctic West 67 flying bubble bell.  I’m concerned that with everything going on in the Arctic, i.e.

    cruise ships, other nations staking out claims etc. we only have one polar class icebreaker in the U.S. operational.  Even back then 48 years ago there was much to learn. Now with global warming and the Arctic opening up we as a nation are going backwards.Jeffrey Hartman, Capt. USCG (ret)

  • Pekka

    Tanker Renda is made in Savonlinna Finland Rauma Repola yard 1984. It’s based on finnish icebreaking technology and design like majority of world icebreaking-fleet.
    Shell has leased two big multi-purpose-icebreakers from Finland and they will be in action in Alaska next summer season.
    I hope that some US legal issues and restrictions will be cleared so that also US Coast Guard could benefit the top modern finnish ice-breaking design.
    This mission with Healy and Renda is great! I wish 100 % success in spite of hard weather conditions.

  • blairgerman

    I agree
    that the US
    needs more ice breakers. The coast guard’s coverage of this mission is very
    impressive. The high rez pics are great. The engineering of ice breakers really
    interests me, as well as the methods used to break ice and escort ships. A
    little more info on why the ice breaker takes the paths it does would help. I
    do understand that the ice is closing in on the Renda, pushing in on it’s
    sides, and that’s why the Healy has to take the routes it does. I wish news
    like this was more extensive on the networks, but national and global interests
    and events don’t coverage they should in the US.

  • Anonymous

    Why does the Congress and our President continue to short change the CG, an agency that has runs short handed since day one.  I just viewed a picture of the Air Force’s grave yard of planes and the Navy’s mothball fleet and it was actually mind boggling.  The CG would love to have some of the monies that is tied up in these discarded properties.  It is really sad.

  • LT S. M. Young

    Blairgerman,

    Thanks for the comment! Your interest in the engineering of ice breakers and their methods would make a great follow up post! We are going to look into it and will let you know when we get any leads!

    Very Respectfully,
    Lt. Stephanie Young
    Coast Guard Public Affairs

  • Mhm

    Once again, our USCG is such a fine service. Congress, stay awake and notice, the United State Coast Guard is the premier maritime serivce of the globe. Makes us proud.

  • gregaryous

     contact your congressmen, women, get involved in some advocacy group. 

  • Gag327

    How did we get into this state of affairs?  Only one polar breaker?  I was stationed on a polar roller (the star) twenty years ago, and I understand the expense and hardship of operating one of these beasts.  It seems we would have re-furbished the Polar Class or have had a building program for these essential platforms.  The new “space race” is just beginning and it is located at both poles……

  • LT S. M. Young

    @b1d6121bbaa62ac03025169c4a2763a4:disqus ,

    Thanks again for your comment. We hope you were able to check out our post that you inspired!

    Very Respectfully,
    Lt. Stephanie Young
    Coast Guard Public Affairs

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patti-Fritchie/1381606136 Patti Fritchie

    I had the unexpected pleasure of being a guest aboard the USCG Cutter Healy while she is in Seattle, WA.  What an honor to have signed my name in the Guest Log of this vessel just after her historic mission.  Thank you to LT. Kriss, medical officer onboard for arranging the tour for our Auxiliary Public Affairs students. You made a great PA for your ship and shipmates. 

    Patti Fritchie, USCGAUX PA III
    1 of 3 Instructors AUX 12, Public Affairs “C” School

  • http://www.bes.co.uk/ plumbing

    I don’t think this can happen in real life. I’ve already seen this in the movie.