When the sled dog, Balto, arrived with emergency supplies for the icebound town of Nome in 1926, a statue was erected in his honor in New York City’s Central park. When the Russian ice strengthened tanker Renda, escorted by the USCG’s icebreaker Healy arrive in Nome with emergency fuel for the winter, they will most likely be greeted by lawsuits. That is, if, they finally arrive. Yesterday, there were reports that shifting ice had effectively stopped their progress. Today, however, conditions have improved and the ships are less than 100 NM from Nome, the Western Alaskan town which will run out of fuel before spring unless new supplies arrive. If the Healy and the Renda, with 1.3 million gallons of oil, makes it through the ice, they will be the first ships ever to resupply the icebound town in the winter. There are no through roads to Nome. If the Renda fails to reach the town, delivery of fuel by plane could cost two to three times more than by water. If all goes well the Renda and the Healy could arrive in Nome by Thursday.
Tanker carrying fuel less than 100 miles from Nome
After being slowed and at times stalled by ice in the Bering Sea, a Coast Guard icebreaker and a Russian tanker were making “great progress” toward Nome on Tuesday, according to an official for the corporation arranging the fuel shipment to the iced-in city.
For the moment, this latest tale appears less likely to produce a warm children’s book than an embarrassing memo, and maybe a few lawsuits, about how it all could have been avoided.
“People need to get fired over this,” said David Tunley, one of the few Musk Oxen at the outdoor rink on an evening when the temperature was minus 23. “The litigation of whose fault it is will probably go on forever.”
Thanks to Phil Leon for pointing out the video.