Port of Nome Won’t Open Until End of May, Preparing for ‘Outside’ Vessel Traffic

Aerial view of Nome's port.

As ice continues to retreat from the Norton Sound, the Nome Port and Harbor get ready to open for business on May 31st. Port of Nome staff are asking all mariners or miners coming in from the outside to quarantine for 14 days upon arriving into Nome.

UPDATE: As of May 18th, port users traveling from within the Bering Strait region will not be subject to a permit application or a 14-day quarantine.

ORIGINAL STORY: That also includes members of crews who are coming from other parts of Alaska. They should get a local travel permit and quarantine from other members of the general public, refrain from going to stores, and public places for 14 days. In city and port meetings, Nome leaders have suggested that crew members could potentially be working aboard the vessel while in quarantine but they cannot be in town and interacting with the general public.

Large operators like fuel barges and Alaska Marine Lines (AML) will still be coming to Nome. Harbormaster Lucas Stotts says they are actually expecting more cargo vessels this summer due to an increase of freight orders. The first AML barge could be here as early as May 24th, depending on when the ice goes out. All vessels are required by state mandate to submit operational plans to keep their crew isolated from the community, and Stotts says the Port of Nome has had overwhelming compliance from those operators thus far.

Given the current uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic, Stotts says the schedule for vessel traffic is always in flux. Some cruises have already canceled but as of this report, ten cruise ships are still on the schedule to come to Nome late in the summer and early fall. That could be subject to change depending on future state mandates on international travelers.

Despite extra pre-cautions the Port of Nome is taking to limit the potential spread of coronavirus, Harbormaster Stotts expects a busy season this summer.

Image at top: Aerial view of Nome’s port. Photo from Joy Baker, City of Nome (2015).