The Russian oil tanker Renda has made it within 6 miles of Nome, where it awaits daylight to inch slowly closer to shore to unload it's precious petro cargo.
It has taken a little longer than expected: originally they talked about it getting there about 4 days after the beginning of the year. But it had to return to Dutch Harbor for repairs.
Then they found the travelling speed slower than expected: turns out that as you try cutting through ice and moving forward, the ice might be carrying you in the opposite direction. In a book I read about a stranded boat north of Russia, sometimes they travelled 14 miles on the ice and found themselves having made only one mile north to south progress.
Anyway, once it gets light on Saturday (about 11:30 AM) they will travel within one mile from Nome. There they will let the tanker freeze in place. Then they'll run a hose for one mile to the city and start pumping.
But they will have to plan a little more; they will only be allowed to start during daylight. They'll then have walkers along that mile to be sure no oil leaks onto the ice as they unload 1,300 gallons of diesel and gas.
And there is a small problem ..... there is only about 5 hours of daylight in Nome at this time of the year. So. it'll be at least Sunday before that starts.
After that is done, the Coast Guard's Healy will break the ice free form the tanker and let it head out for home.
We don't know what news stories you in the lower 48 are keeping up with. But here in AK, this is one story we follow whenever we get to the Internet or turn on the radio or TV.
Check it out at
PS for an interesting read on being ice bound on a ship for 1 1/2 years in the Siberian Artic...and the final effort of 235 miles in 91 days over the ice and water back to civilization, check out the book of the Russian ship Saint Anna in the early 1910's: In the Land of White Death.