Arctic deep-water port proposed

2015-02-19 23:30

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Anchorage - A historic Alaska gold-mining city could be the first place where the federal government invests in a deep-water port to serve vessels in Arctic waters.

The US Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to release a study for public comment that suggests expanding the Port of Nome as a first step in improving infrastructure along Alaska's west and north coast.

Nome is south of the Bering Strait but far closer to Arctic waters than the nearest Coast Guard base in Kodiak, an island east of the Aleutian Chain.

The lack of a deep-water port along Alaska's north and west coasts has been a point of concern as climate warming has made Arctic waters more accessible. As ship traffic has increased, the corps, the Coast Guard and other federal agencies have expressed concern about responding to vessels in distress, industrial activities and oil spills.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC began exploratory drilling on offshore leases in 2012 in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. The company is considering drilling again this summer in the Chukchi if it can obtain the necessary permits.

Tour boats travel across the Bering Strait, and state and federal officials anticipate shipping companies could someday use Arctic Ocean routes for moving freight between continents.

Nome would welcome expanded port facilities that could handle larger, deeper fuel tankers and possibly lower fuel prices, said Joy Baker, Nome's port project manager. The city would also like to accommodate the Coast Guard fleet and vessels used for petroleum drilling, she said.

The corps in 2012 launched a three-year study on deep ports in response to increased vessel traffic. The study area covered 6 000km of coastline from southwest Alaska to the Canada border.

Nome offers advantages that more northern communities don't, such as an airport that handles jets.

Its outer port, however, with annual dredging is only 6.7m deep. Ships with deeper drafts must ferry their contents to shore.

Corps spokesperson Tom Findtner said by email that the agency in December tentatively selected a plan to modify the Port of Nome. The plan suggests extending Nome's causeway by 655m, building a 137m dock and dredging the new, protected area and entrance channel to 7.6m.

The corps report is a feasibility review that will be released for public comment, possibly by Friday.

Details for expanding the port would be developed in a planning, engineering and design phase, Baker said.

"It's just a rough sketch at this point," she said.

Read more on:    us  |  maritime

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.