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Seafaring Dog Rescued From Tanker

Salvage: Burned-out ship had been adrift since its crew was picked up April 2. Sailors on a tug sent to move the vessel lured the mixed-breed with food.

April 27, 2002|From Associated Press

HONOLULU — A dog stranded for 24 days aboard an abandoned fuel tanker in the Pacific Ocean was rescued Friday by the crew of a tugboat, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

The crew found the dog on deck and put her inside a portable kennel, Chief Petty Officer Tyler Johnson said.

"The crew had food for her and she came right up," said Capt. Gilbert J. Kanazawa, commander of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in Honolulu. "They didn't have to do much to get her."

The 2-year-old mixed-breed white terrier appears to be in good condition and is eating and drinking, he said. The dog had lived on the tanker with the crew since she was a puppy.

The burned-out tanker had been drifting about in the Pacific, hundreds of miles southwest of Honolulu.

On Friday, it was within 100 miles of Johnston Atoll, in U.S. territorial waters.

The Coast Guard sent the salvage tugboat to prepare to move the tanker away from the island, concerned that it would break apart and spill its 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

Johnson said the dog would be moved to the tugboat after the crew completes rigging operations aboard the tanker Insiko 1907.

The dog, named Forgea, had not been seen since Monday, when she scampered below deck to evade fishermen from Honolulu trying to coax her off the ship.

An earlier $48,000 rescue attempt was abandoned after authorities said they believed the tanker had sunk with Forgea aboard.

The Hawaiian Humane Society said that attempt was covered by donations and funds from the national society.

"We are thrilled," said Pamela Burns, executive director of the humane society. "This is the perfect ending to a wonderful story."

The dog had been alone on the 256-foot tanker since April 2, when the cruise ship Norwegian Star rescued the captain and 10 crew members.

An engine room fire aboard the Indonesian tanker March 13 killed one crew member and knocked out power and communications aboard the ship, which serviced fishing boats with fuel and supplies.

The Coast Guard is considering towing the tanker to deep water and sinking it at a depth of about three miles, said Lt. DesaRae Atnip, public affairs officer. At that depth, the diesel fuel would dissipate before reaching the surface, she said.

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