A Russian tanker that went on an ocean odyssey of 5,000 miles to deliver fuel to the iced-in city of Nome was offloading the gasoline and diesel in what officials say is smooth sailing so far. Two parallel hoses, 700 yards long each, are stretched between the tanker Renda and a pipeline that will deliver 1.3 million gallons of fuel to storage tanks near the harbor of the Alaskan city. The offloading began with gasoline, and then both gasoline and diesel were being transferred separately.
Jason Evans, board chairman of Sitnasuak Native Corp., the company that arranged for the fuel delivery, said today the tanker's two hoses are pumping between 30,000 and 40,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel an hour. This is the first time petroleum products have been delivered to a western Alaska community by sea in winter, officials said. The transfer could take up to five days to complete. Alaska has had one of the most severe winters in decades, and snow has piled up 10 feet or higher against the buildings in Nome. (Read more Nome, Alaska stories.)