14 Jan 2012

Alaskan town reached by tanker

10:30 am on 14 January 2012

A Russian tanker has reached the town of Nome in western Alaska, which is cut off by ice and heavy snow storms.

The Renda, carrying more than 1.3 million gallons (4.9 million litres) of fuel, was moving in the wake of a US Coast Guard icebreaker, the Healy.

They departed Dutch Harbor on 3 January and are the first ships to reach western Alaska in the depths of winter.

Nome usually receives fuel by barge. But severe autumn snow storms prevented a pre-winter fuel delivery this season.

The BBC reports the crews are waiting for daylight, around 11.30am local time, when conditions are safer, to begin unloading.

The Renda is certified to travel through 4ft of ice over long distances. It was deemed to be less expensive and more practical than bringing the delivery into Nome by air.