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Friday, April 12, 2002



Efforts may be
revived to save
dog on adrift ship

A vessel saw a ship that appeared
to be drifting without power


By Rosemarie Bernardo
rbernardo@starbulletin.com

The Hawaiian Humane Society may revive its search for Forgea, the 2-year-old dog left aboard an abandoned Indonesian tanker, now that a Japanese fishing vessel has reported spotting an unidentified ship off Kauai.

"We still have some hope that the Insiko may be found and that Forgea is alive," said Hawaiian Humane Society President Pamela Burns in a written statement.

On April 2 the cruise ship Norwegian Star rescued 11 crewmen from the tanker Insiko 1907 about 330 miles south of Molokai after it had been crippled by an engine room fire that killed one crew member. Forgea and the body of the crewman were left on board.

Last Friday, the Society embarked on a $50,000 search for the dog which ended Sunday after members of a search team said they believed the ship had sunk. The rescue effort spanned 14,800 square miles of the ocean.

But around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday, crew members aboard the fishing vessel Victoria City spotted an object on their radar screen about 390 to 400 nautical miles south of Kauai.

As the vessel drew closer, ship members spotted "a darkened ship with no lights that appeared to be adrift," said Lt. Michael Wessel, senior search and rescue controller for the 14th U.S. Coast Guard District.

The sighting was unconfirmed because the Japanese vessel did not get close enough to read the name on the hull of the ship, but its description matched that of the Insiko, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard told the Society about the radar contact Wednesday. Wessel said the 256-foot tanker continues to drift to the west.

Efforts are under way to contact fishing vessels in the area that may be able to help, said a Humane Society press release. Society officials were unavailable for further comment.

Wessel said he believes the vessel is the Insiko 1907 because of its location. The Coast Guard does not plan on searching for the tanker, he added.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Lauren Smith said the chances of the dog still being alive were "nil to none."

The tanker's captain, Chung Chin Po, earlier said he was forced to leave his dog behind. But a Norwegian Star spokesman said they were not aware of the dog until it was too late.

Earlier this week, Burns said the Humane Society collected more than $30,000 in donations from Hawaii residents and others across the United States to help fund the search effort. Meanwhile, officials from the Immigration and Naturalization Service continue their search for nine Insiko crew members who disappeared after arriving in Honolulu on April 3.



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