Pictured above: Oceana's Jon Warrenchuk (left) and Matthias Gorny with the ROV onboard the research vessel Island C in Kodiak, AK.
This spring, researchers spent eight days circumnavigating Kodiak Island exploring 23 different sites in search of deep-sea corals and other seafloor habitat areas. "The expedition's goal was to expand our knowledge of the Gulf of Alaska seafloor to support Oceana's ongoing campaign to protect coral, sponges and other sensitive sea life," explains Cheryl Eldemar, Pacific Business Manager for the nonprofit conservation group Oceana.
The star of the expedition was Deep Discoverer, an 1,800-pound Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) which captures undersea images with a sensitive camera. Getting the ROV and its four crates of batteries and accessories from Santiago, Chile, to the island of Kodiak fell to Lynden Logistics. "We Alaskans are keenly aware of Lynden's long-term dedication and reputation for providing goods and transportation to Alaska," Cheryl says. "This international shipping project was another example of Lynden's flexibility, patience, persistence and professionalism."
Lynden moved the ROV once before from Chile to Portland, OR in 2013 for Oceana's Oregon Coast Expedition. According to Ahmad Abed Rabuh, General Manager at Lynden's Portland Service Center, things have changed dramatically in the decade since the last move. The pandemic, supply chain disruptions and changes in rules and regulations for transporting batteries and other sensitive goods all affected this year's journey of the ROV from continent to continent.
"We excel at unusual international shipments, but this one required special customs declaration, custom-built crates made from a specific heat-treated wood, separate air freighter transport to Miami for the battery, and a lack of wide-body lift in the South American lane," Ahmad explains. "International Regional Operations Manager Elodie Gergov was instrumental in helping me navigate the South America complications for this shipment." Lynden's John Dill and Fernando and Chanelle Hernandez also worked diligently on the project in Portland along with Matt Kelly in Anchorage.
Once the ROV arrived in Miami, it was trucked cross-country to Portland in three days, then flown to Anchorage. Once in Anchorage, finding another flight to Kodiak proved difficult. Backlogs and freighters being pulled from the flight schedule complicated the last leg of the journey. "With Matt's help, we finally got a flight and delivered the ROV via a ground carrier six hours before Oceana needed it on the boat," Ahmad says.
"Please extend our gratitude to all at Lynden who had a hand in ensuring the Gulf of Alaska Expedition's star player arrived on time," Cheryl says. "Campaigns like this one remain an important tool in the Oceana toolbox as they help us photograph, film and research unique marine ecosystems. We can help the public and policy makers understand just how much is happening below the ocean surface when we share expedition footage. It brings those places to life."
Welcome to Lynden News!
Pictured above: Oceana's Jon Warrenchuk (left) and Matthias Gorny with the ROV onboard the research vessel Island C in Kodiak, AK.
Erik Scott of Alaska Marine Trucking and the crew of the Bering Marine vessel Greta, pictured above, received special recognition from the American Red Cross last month. Erik and friend Cooper Street, pictured below with Cooper on the left and Erik on the right, received the Wilderness Rescue Award for rescuing and reviving the victim of an avalanche who was buried with his snowmachine near Turnagain Pass, and the crew received the Transportation Safety Award.
Greta Captain Mike Dawson, Engineer Clint Mathews, Mates Chris Benny and Fred Haag, Deckhands Anthony Augusto and Manny Belarmino, and Alaska Marine Trucking's Bethel Service Center Manager Brandon Leary were recognized for spotting and rescuing a man who fell off a marine bulkhead into the Kuskokwim River. Brandon threw a life ring to the man from his home on the riverbank and the Greta arrived shortly after with a Jacob's Ladder boarding device. The man was safely transported to shore where emergency crews were waiting.
Anthony and Erik were both interviewed for videos that were shown during the awards ceremony in Anchorage. "It was a team effort and I'm happy everyone was quick to respond," Anthony says. Erik says the unexpected avalanche was a reminder to be prepared for emergencies when in the backcountry. "I never thought I would need my training, but I'm glad I had it when I was put in a life or death situation."
ConocoPhillips and the Alaska Trucking Association presented Alaska West Express with the 2021 Alaska Safe Truck Fleet of the Year Award in the Highway Division. The award recognizes the hard work and focus on health and safety that all Alaska West Express employees have demonstrated over the past year. "It is an honor and very humbling to be around a team of individuals that strive to be the best at what we do every day," says Tyler Bones, Alaska West Express Director of HSSE. "It is always special when the hard work of our employees and contractors are recognized. Alaska West operated 4.6 million miles accident free in 2021. Considering the challenging operating conditions on the Dalton Highway, this is a remarkable achievement."
Knik Construction was recently awarded the Associated General Contractors' 2021 Certificate of Commendation for its excellent safety record and zero incidence rate. This national recognition is reserved for companies with a quality safety record and no incidents. Knik was recognized in the federal and heavy category for working 110,000 to 424,999 work hours incident-free. "Thank you to all Knik employees who work hard every day to keep our communities and workplaces safe," says Knik President Dan Hall. "At Knik safety is truly job #1." As part of preparing for the 2022 work season, crews conducted a Safety Stand Down for National Prevent Falls in Construction Week in May. Knik participated to help raise fall hazard awareness and to prevent fall fatalities and injuries. Knik employees are pictured above in Platinum, AK.
A broken leg at the top of a mountain. A heart attack on a whitewater rafting trip. These real-life emergencies can and do happen and Tyler Bones and Don Werhonig have the experience and knowledge to teach others how to help those in trouble. "We teach what we do routinely," Tyler says. "Don and I are both on hazmat teams and local response groups outside of work, so we are comfortable sharing what we know."
Rafting guides, Denali climbing guides and the leader of an outdoor recreation program for returning soldiers at Fort Wainwright were all students in Lynden Training Center's latest Wilderness First Responder class this spring. The class has been a regular offering at the Fairbanks training center since 2017.
The 80-hour training draws a broad range of students from a variety of organizations, including: the Department of Natural Resources, Wilderness Search and Rescue personnel, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, aspiring guides, Boy Scout camp rangers, Bureau of Land Management employees, University of Alaska remote researchers, industry personnel that work remotely and Tribal/Native personnel. "A group we are especially proud to work with is the U.S. Army Northern Warfare Training Center," Tyler says.
Wilderness First Responder training is offered by other providers in Alaska, but Lynden's class is unique. "It's been a tough market to break into, but we do a number of things that set us apart. The biggest difference with our program is that our students not only receive a certification as a Wilderness First Responder, but they also are certified as a State of Alaska Emergency Trauma Technician," Tyler explains. "Don and I completed our Fellowship in the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM) through the Wilderness Medical Society. It was an intense program that required over 100 credits. It's the equivalent of a bachelor's degree for wilderness medicine. There are only 14 other FAWMs in Alaska."
Lynden is fortunate to have the nearby Fairbanks North Star Borough's Tanana Lakes Recreation Area for hands-on real-life simulations for class. According to Don, "We start in the classroom, but quickly transition to hands-on practicals and then field exercises. We use the Recreation Area, which is approximately 750 acres, right outside our gate. It is a perfect place to practice the skills that are learned in the classroom."
Over the past five years, Don and Tyler have trained 67 first responders. "It's always rewarding to hear from past students that have used the skills that they have learned in our courses in real-life emergencies," Tyler says.
Lynden Transport recently wrapped up the final delivery for a year-long SpaceX project in Alaska. "The first two antennas were delivered to us in Fife early last year, and they required careful loading for the trip north to Prudhoe Bay," says John Husby, Northwest Regional Sales Manager. At 7-feet by 9-feet, and weighing 3,000-pounds each, the pieces required forklift placement onto the trailers.
“They are extremely fragile, so no other freight can come in contact with them. The crew that loaded and secured them did a fantastic job. Fife Safety Supervisor, formerly Operations Supervisor, Zach Joraanstad was the lead on the project with assistance from Driver Casey Mack," John says. Lynden delivered the high-value antenna to various Alaska locations over the past year via truck, steamship and barge as the global installation of satellites continues. In all, 27 units were transported – nine to Fairbanks, nine to Ketchikan and nine more to Nome in 2021.
Lynden Air Cargo participated in two lifesaving projects this winter on opposite ends of the globe. Two flights were chartered to La Paz, Bolivia to supply Bolivian residents with Covid vaccines donated by the U.S. Government. Lynden's Hercules aircraft was one of the only planes capable of landing at the high-altitude airport; elevation 13,325 feet.
Each charter carried 1 million doses of Pfizer vaccines packed in dry ice with real-time temperature loggers to protect the temperature-sensitive drugs. "This project involved multiple Lynden crews and coordination with several departments as well as the customer," says Dan Marshall, Lynden Air Cargo Commercial Operations Manager. Additional charters are scheduled this month.
More than 7,500 miles away in the remote whaling communities of Point Hope and Kaktovik, a Lynden Herc delivered four 40-foot "hi-cube" containers to store frozen whale meat from the annual hunts in the villages. "Their size makes them extremely difficult to load and offload, so it required some novel solutions to accomplish the delivery," explains Dave Beach, Lynden Air Cargo Commercial Operations Manager. Lynden's Joe Bates and Cory Myren worked with the Alaska Marine Lines team to modify tractor dollies into mobile platforms for transfer. "Our partners at AML did an exceptional job," Dave says. "We found a way to help these communities when the only other delivery option was to wait for the next barge season.
"Lynden was key to making this important delivery happen for us. The flight crew watched for breaks in the weather and flew during small windows of opportunity," says Jenny Evans, Grants and Operations Manager for the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission. "It is so meaningful to our communities and to ensuring food security for our villages."
The Iditarod sled dog race celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and Lynden will be out in front as a major sponsor of the 2022 race. The world-famous Iditarod begins March 5 in Nome, AK, and commemorates the mushers and dog teams that delivered life-saving diphtheria serum to save critically ill children in 1925.
"Lynden has a long history of supporting the Iditarod and the mushers and dog teams who compete each year," says Susie Stevens, Lynden Transport Account Manager and coordinator of Lynden’s involvement in the event. "We are proud to support this iconic Alaskan race on its 50th anniversary and to celebrate the culture and heritage it represents."
"Given that the Iditarod is one of the most challenging events in all of sports, it’s great to welcome Lynden as a partner with its long history of logistical expertise and a strong commitment to bettering the lives of Alaskans," said Rob Urbach, CEO of the Iditarod. The Iditarod is an incomparable sled dog journey traversing approximately 1,049 miles of off-the-grid wilderness while contending with weather extremes of snowstorms, slush, ice, and high winds. These weather extremes are very familiar to Lynden as it has a reputation for delivering solutions and high-quality service through all logistical challenges over land, on water and in the air.
Lynden will sponsor the following mushers this year: 2019 Iditarod Champion Pete Kaiser (pictured right with Lynden volunteers) and repeat competitors Dakota Schlosser and Mike Williams, Jr.
Lynden’s history of supporting the Iditarod and its mushers goes back to the 1980s when it sponsored the late Susan Butcher. Butcher was the second woman to win the Iditarod in 1986, the second four-time winner in 1990, and the first to win four out of five sequential years. She is commemorated in Alaska by Susan Butcher Day.
Lynden Air Cargo continues its support of the race by delivering dog food and supplies to race check points, and employees volunteer to help in a variety of capacities. Lynden was also a sponsor of the Junior Iditarod for many years.
In 2005, Lynden Logistics and Lynden Air Cargo transported Fritz, a fragile, taxidermied member of the legendary relay of dog sled teams that brought the serum to Nome in 1925, from Lake Placid, NY to Anchorage. From Anchorage, the dog was flown to Nome where he is part of an Iditarod display at the Carrie M. McLain Memoriam Museum. Fritz and his half-brother, Togo, traveled more miles than any other mushing team to deliver the serum to Nome where it saved scores of lives.
Although all Lynden shipments are important, it's not every day that Alaska Marine Lines transports cargo used to build an evacuation bridge for an endangered Alaskan community. The long-awaited Kivalina Bridge, connecting the Western Alaska village of Kivalina to the mainland, was completed last spring by Lynden customer ASRC Civil Construction with support from Alaska Marine Lines.
For decades, the small coastal community of Kivalina has been working with a variety of agencies to address threats of coastal erosion and flooding. The bridge and an 8-mile gravel road are part of the Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Access Road project which provides residents an evacuation route in the event of a catastrophic storm or ocean surge.
"We first started talking about building a road and bridge for the community several years ago," says Mike Morris, Alaska Marine Lines Account Manager. "Now the road and bridge are done, and a replacement school project followed. We have moved building materials, equipment and other supporting freight for all three projects."
Getting freight to a remote village on a small spit of land is no small task. The projects required a combination of mainline barge sailings from Seattle and Anchorage to Nome, and from Nome, numerous landing craft voyages for additional inter-port moves. Each landing craft can transport up to 400 tons of cargo, which came in handy for the rock trucks, excavators and huge steel girders needed to build roads and the bridge.
"We have worked with ASRC for many years, so we knew what was expected and got right to work building loads and coordinating sailings," Mike says. The first load of girders left Seattle aboard the landing craft Nunaniq. "It was a challenge to figure out how to load steel girders that were 104-feet long onto a landing craft with a 100-foot deck," says Brian Ward, Western Alaska Marine Operations Manager. "For me, that was the toughest piece of this move."
In Seattle, Brian, Tom Crescenzi, Zed Runyan and Oliver Zidek came up with a dolly system that bolted two girders together for the support needed for the 100-ton weight.
A long, cold winter presented another challenge for the crews. "That year we were fighting ice, and spring had been slow to come," Mike says. "Our summer season for serving Western Alaska and the surrounding villages starts in early April to mid-May, and even later in places like Kivalina above the Arctic Circle, but it's always contingent on Mother Nature."
Beginning with Bristol Bay, nine scheduled sailings, with multiple shuttle voyages, provided delivery to approximately 80 different coastal and river villages.
"We are happy to be a part of improving the quality of life and accessibility in remote locations. We pride ourselves on being able to help communities by bringing in needed equipment and supplies to complete civic projects, like the school improvements in Kivalina," Mike says.