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Icebreaker Healy returns to Seattle after 254 days

Posted: February 6, 2012 - 12:01am

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard cutter Healy is back in Seattle after a 254-day patrol that included clearing a path for a crucial fuel delivery to ice-bound Nome, Alaska.

The Healy broke through 800 miles of sea ice as it led a Russian tanker that delivered 1.3 million gallons of fuel last month. Without the delivery, Nome would have run out of fuel by spring. The vessels sometimes found themselves stalled and drifting the wrong way in Bering Sea ice.

It was the first time fuel has been delivered to a western Alaska community by sea in winter.

Other parts of the mission included marine research in the Arctic. On Friday, as the Healy was on its way back to Seattle, it diverted 90 miles to assist a Singapore-flagged freighter that lost a partial load of timber and became unstable in 70 mile-per-hour winds and 30-foot seas.

The Healy returned to port in Seattle on Sunday morning.

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