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Wednesday, 28 November, 2001, 12:11 GMT
Stowaway cat is all at sea
Map
The cat is somewhere north of Papua New Guinea
An international rescue mission has been launched to rescue a stowaway New Zealand cat that wandered onto a ship bound for South Korea.

The cat has been at sea for about two weeks and is heading for the southern Korean port of Yeosu.

The Korean crew has sent photos back to dock workers in the port city of New Plymouth, showing the cat apparently looking contented.


She's a big part of all the people here, spends a lot of time wandering around the terminal

Chris Jenkins, dock superintendent
But dock workers at New Zealand's Port Taranaki desperately want their cat back, a spokesman told the BBC on Wednesday.

They are trying to organize a ship-to-ship transfer to get the cat - named "Colin's" after the dock worker who adopted her nine years ago - back home without it having to go through quarantine.

"There are difficulties there, because what we have to do is find a ship that's coming back to New Zealand or back specifically really to this port," a duty superintendent at the dock, Chris Jenkins, told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"The other option is to land her in Korea, perhaps put her through quarantine, and get her on a ship coming back."

Cat-napped

The third option being considered is getting the tortoiseshell cat an aeroplane ticket.

"We are looking for sponsors," said Mr Jenkins.

The crew of the South Korean methanol tanker carrying the cat - the Tomiwaka - has been very helpful, said Mr Jenkins.

When dock workers at Port Taranaki, on the west coast of North Island, discovered Colin's was missing, they first thought she must be lying somewhere injured. Then they faxed all the ships that had been in port recently, and got a reply back from the Tomiwaka.

"It turns out that the second engineer had found the cat following him on the terminal and took the cat on board to give her some food," said Mr Jenkins. "They both then fell asleep."

In the meantime, the tanker left the port. It is not scheduled to make a further trip to New Zealand.

But Mr Jenkins and his colleagues hope their cat will return from her travels soon.

"She's a big part of all the people here, spends a lot of time wandering around the terminal, mostly chasing, and not catching, mice and birds and sitting around eating a lot," he said.

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Chris Jenkins, Port Taranaki
"She's a big part of all the people here"
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