Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/707823
55 Summer 2016 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings The Remote Area Known as Western Alaska Western Alaska is an area where no roads lead, accessible only by boat or by plane from Anchorage or Fairbanks. It is an area where there are far more caribou than people, where polar bears still roam freely, where snow dominates the land and ice dominates the seas, and where a winter storm pro- ducing a 100-mph wind doesn't get national news coverage as a hurricane. It's an area that TV viewers recognize from the show The Deadliest Catch, giving a glimpse of the environmental con- ditions mariners must endure to work on the waters to make a living. It is iced-in and inaccessible for six months, then ice-free for the other six months, allowing commerce a short and intense village resupply season. We're Not in Kansas Anymore It is an area where the oceans are lifelines for the villages, allowing marine solutions, trans- portation, and logistics company Crowley's spe- cially built tugs and barges and highly trained crews to transit and resupply depleted fuel after a long winter of iced-in isolation. It is a large area, extending from the Alaska peninsula on the Bering Sea side to the Cana- dian border in the Arctic Ocean; it is in this area that Crowley's western Alaska fleet operates. The fleet has 180 days to deliver 50 million gal- lons of fuel before it retreats back south as ice begins forming again, isolating the communi- ties for another winter. A Snapshot in Time It is day 70 of Crowley's 180-day fuel deliv- ery season — another summer day in west- ern Alaska, and the fuel resupply season is in full progress. Many challenges lie before the specialized fleet of shallow-draft tugs and combination fuel and deck cargo barges, a fleet charged each year with deliv- ering important fuel supplies on time to customers whose only other option is to fly the fuel in, which would be cost- prohibitive. With seven tugs, 12 barges, and 48 crewmembers to get the job done, the stakes are high — more than 100 coastal and river communities and hundreds of customers within this geographical range all need fuel to keep their families warm during the winter and unleaded gasoline to help them sub- sist to survive. 1 The kicker: Almost none of these locations have charts or buoys to support navigation, nor do they have soundings to reference to ensure there's enough water depth to operate. Alaska Fuel Distribution Six months, 50 million gallons, 100 remote delivery locations. by Ca PT a I n g reg Pa V ellas Director, Marine Operations Crowley Fuels Regions Graphic courtesy of Crowley.