A Russian tanker hauling fuel across the ice-packed Bering Sea has made it to Alaska's coastline near the town of Nome and crews were assessing ice conditions Friday morning in hopes of making a long-awaited delivery.
The 370-foot tanker, called Renda, has been guided through hundreds of miles of sea ice by the Healy, a Coast Guard icebreaker.
On Friday morning, the vessels were less than 10 miles offshore, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer David Mosely told NBC News.
Mosely said crews were evaluating the ice conditions to ensure a safe transfer of the fuel to shore. Of particular concern is making sure the vessels are in a position to break free from the ice after the completition of the delivery, he said.
Work could begin at daylight, which doesn't come to that part of Alaska until about 1:30 p.m. PST.
Residents of Nome have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the ships. Without the 1.3 million gallons of fuel, the city could run out of heating oil and gasoline by March. Flying supplies in was an option but would have added $3-4 a gallon to the cost of fuel, which already runs $6 a gallon in Nome, population 3,500.
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