Off to the Races

Posted: May 11, 2021

With little less than a week before the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative’s (AVEC) Naniq and Cavek are scheduled to depart to Western Alaska for the maiden voyage of 2021, Vitus crew members work through a mix of winter storms, rain and sun to prepare for the final Coast Guard inspection.

AVEC tug and barge sets are drydocked for the winter in Seward, Alaska. Before going back into service, each vessel needs to undergo an inspection for re-certification. The Coast Guard requires inspection at least once every five years and will issue a Certificate of Inspection which permits the tugs to go to sea. Preparations on board the tugs include ensuring that all critical machinery, navigational equipment and communication gear are fully operational. The skilled crew consisting of both local and international talent bustle about the decks and engine room to verify structural and watertight integrity.

There is a big push to get an early start to the season. “The plan is to make the big fuel deliveries early to take advantage of the spring and summer weather,” says Luther Bartholomew, Director Marine Operations, Vitus Energy LLC.  The operations are dictated by weather, tides and maintenance issues. Bartholomew continues, “Every day missed due to break down or maintenance, takes three times longer in the fall.”