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Icebreaker and fuel delivery reach Nome after going through 500 miles of Alaskan ice

Grant DeVuyst / U.S. Coast Guard via Reuters

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Healy breaks ice near the coast of Nome, Alaska on Jan. 14. The cutter is assisting the Russian-flagged tanker to the frozen Alaskan port with emergency fuel supplies after a 10-day voyage through ice-choked seas, the Russian company that owns the vessel said. The mission is the first mid-winter marine delivery to western Alaska and comes as oil and gas development and climate change increase commercial traffic along trade routes in the Arctic.

Charly Hengen / U.S. Coast Guard via Reuters

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Healy and the Russian-flag bearing tanker Renda sit off the coast of Nome, Alaska after reaching the frozen Alaskan port with emergency fuel supplies in this Jan. 14 photo. The mission is the first mid-winter marine delivery to western Alaska and comes as oil and gas development and climate change increase commercial traffic along trade routes in the Arctic.

msnbc.com news services report:

The tanker Renda was moored off Nome's harbor after a Coast Guard icebreaker cleared a path for it through hundreds of miles of ice. Jason Evans, board chairman of the Sitnasuak Native Corp., said the bulk of the mission's biggest challenges were behind the crew, but a lot of work remained.

"In theory, it was possible and in reality, it now is done," Evans said of the journey.

The tanker stopped slightly less than a half-mile from the harbor Saturday night, and ice disturbed by its journey had to freeze again so workers could create some sort of roadway to lay a hose that will transfer 1.3 million gallons of fuel from the tanker to the harbor.

The tanker began its journey from Russia in mid-December, picking up diesel fuel in South Korea before heading to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, where it took on unleaded gasoline. It arrived late last week off Nome, more than 500 miles from Anchorage on Alaska's west coast. In total, the tanker traveled an estimated 5,000 miles, said Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, commander of District Seventeen with the Coast Guard.

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Charly Hengen / U.S. Coast Guard via Reuters

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Healy guides the Russian tanker Renda closer to the fuel transfer mooring point off the coast of Nome, Alaska on Jan. 14. The mission to the frozen port is the first mid-winter marine delivery to western Alaska and comes as oil and gas development and climate change increase commercial traffic along trade routes in the Arctic.