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Old April 8th, 2002, 11:59 AM
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A $50,000 rescue operation to save dog abandoned

HONOLULU, Hawaii (AP) -- A $50,000 rescue operation to save a dog left alone aboard an abandoned Indonesian oil tanker off Hawaii ended with organizers saying the ship apparently sank.

"We are deeply saddened to report that Forgae, the 2-year-old dog left on board a crippled tanker after its human crew was rescued, has apparently been lost at sea," Pamela Burns, president of the Hawaiian Humane Society, and Martha Armstrong, senior vice president of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a joint news release Sunday.

The two groups organized the air-and-sea operation after learning the dog remained aboard the Insiko 1907 when its captain and 10 crew members were rescued Tuesday by a luxury liner about 230 miles southwest of Hawaii.

Nearly three weeks earlier, a fire killed a crew member and left the ship without power or communications. The body was left behind.

The tanker captain, Chung Chin Po of Taiwan, wasn't allowed to bring his dog with him on the luxury liner Norwegian Star, the Hawaiian Humane Society said.

A salvage tug hired to find the tanker reached the search area early Sunday morning and was joined later in the day by a plane with two observers aboard.

The effort was called off when the tanker couldn't be found after more than 1,000 square miles of ocean was searched, the society said.

"We had the best surveillance equipment available, searched the most probable locations and beyond, and we believe the Insiko 1907 has sunk," said Scott Vuillemot, president of American Marine Corp., owner of the tug American Quest.

"It's not the end we had hoped for," society spokeswoman Eve Holt said.

Po had left food and water for the dog. Even without food, the society believed the dog could survive for about a week on rain water puddling on the deck.
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