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Russian Tanker Breaks Through Ice to Nome
January 16, 2012

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A Russian tanker full of fuel has arrived in Nome, Alaska, a town isolated by one of the most severe winters in many years.

Residents of Nome were expecting a similar delivery in November, when far less snow and ice were surrounding the town, but a sudden storm prevented that trip. The subsequent delivery began in mid-December.

The Russian tanker, named Renda, sailed across the Bering Sea, took diesel fuel onboard in South Korea and then sailed to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to get unleaded gasoline. Along the way, the tanker traveled 5,000 miles, much of it slogging through thick ice and unexpectedly strong sea currents. An U.S. Coast Guard ice cutter helped the tanker the last part of the way.

Even though the ship has now arrived, the delivery is not complete. The 1.3 million gallons of fuel must be transferred, via hose, and could take as little as 36 hours or as much as five days, depending on weather conditions.

Workers in Nome, the finish line of the famed Iditarod Sled Dog Race, decided to accept ship delivery to save money over a plane delivery.

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