CORRECTED: Lt. Gov. Treadwell Commends Successful Nome Fuel Delivery
January 17, 2012, Anchorage, AK – Key players in the delivery of fuel to Nome gathered there on Sunday to celebrate a successful mission. Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell commended the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy and praised the U.S.-Russia cooperation and efforts of all who made the operation possible.
Treadwell and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski toured the Healy and thanked the crew for their service. Other Alaska officials in Nome for the Healy’s arrival included John Madden, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Services; Larry Hartig, commissioner for Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC); Rear Admiral Thomas Ostebo, commander of the seventeenth Coast Guard district; and Alaska State Senator Donny Olson.
DEC was in constant communication with the crew, performed original inspections of the Russian tanker Renda, and had officials in Nome a week in advance of the tanker’s arrival, making plans for offloading fuel.
“Many obstacles were overcome to complete this voyage,” Treadwell said. “Hard work achieved agreements for purchasing fuel and contracting the Russian tanker Renda. The Healy crew, deployed for seven months on science missions, sacrificed returning home for the holidays to perform this mission. Many parties worked to obtain a waiver of the Merchant Marine Act (or Jones Act) to allow a foreign vessel to transport cargo between two American ports. In the end, we had successful passage through thick Bering Sea ice and safely offloaded fuel at the Nome Harbor.”
“To Commanding Officer Captain Beverly Havlik and the crew of the Healy, thank you for all you do.”
“Like the 1925 Serum Run, this voyage captured the attention of the world. We remember last century’s ‘great race of mercy’ to Nome with the yearly Iditarod. Let’s remember this journey with a national commitment to new icebreakers.”
“We need the Healy, and we need new Polar class icebreakers,” Treadwell said. “We need them to maintain the safety and health of Alaska’s coastal communities and environment. We need them to foster maritime commerce just like in the Great Lakes. We need them to counter risks posed by new ship traffic carrying oil products through the Bering Strait, for science, and for security requirements than cannot be met with current capabilities.”
Lt. Gov. Treadwell testified on Dec. 1, 2011 before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on the immediate need for new polar class icebreakers in the Arctic. Of the Coast Guard’s only two heavy icebreakers, the Polar Sea has been decommissioned, and the Polar Star is undergoing renovations that may only add another 7-10 years to its service. The Healy is a medium-class icebreaker, designed to break through four feet of ice at a speed of three knots.