Fuel tanker bound for Nome turns back for minor repairs

There's a new twist in the saga of a Russian fuel tanker trying to reach ice-bound Nome. The Coast Guard said the Renda was just 15 miles out from the Aleutian Islands port of Dutch Harbor when it turned back Wednesday to make minor repairs.

Petty Officer Erik Ihle said the tanker was anchored just outside Dutch Harbor Wednesday night and plans called for it to head for Nome once again on Thursday. He didn't know the exact nature of the repairs.

The Renda, a tanker that can break through ice, left the Aleutian Islands port Wednesday morning.

Bering Sea storms prevented a fuel barge from making its final delivery to Nome late last year. Vitus Marine arranged the trip by the Renda on behalf of Bonanza Fuel, a subsidiary of the Sitnasuak Native Corp.

KTUU reported the Renda is loaded with more than 1 million gallons of diesel fuel and 400,000 gallons of gasoline.

The voyage to the Seward Peninsula is about 700 nautical miles and the last 300 are expected to be through ice about 2 feet thick. The Coast Guard Cutter Healy will escort the Renda on the four- to five-day trip.

Associated Press