The Good, the Bad, and the Not Too Smart

The Good, the Bad, and the Not Too Smart

Tales of folly and foolishness on the water.

Elizabeth Ginns Britten — February 2004


Illustration: Brian Raszka
 More of this Feature

• Good Fortune
• Where There’s Lint, There’s Fire
• Leap for Life
• Losing More than Sleep
• Adrift for 12 Hours

 Related Resources
• Feature Index

 Elsewhere on the Web
• Professional Mariner

The following tales of marine “incidents” are taken from one of our favorite marine magazines, Professional Mariner, specifically from its “Maritime Casualties” column that runs in each issue. The stories, though sometimes hard to believe, are in fact true, and we found them so interesting we asked the folks at Professional Mariner if we could share them with you. They generously agreed. So be prepared to be entertained, shocked, and maybe even taught a lesson or two.

Good Fortune
On March 13, 2002, Insiko, a 256-foot tanker that provided fuel and supplies to fishing boats, had a major engine room fire that left one crewman dead, injured another, and crippled the ship’s power and communications systems. The vessel, along with the captain and ten surviving crewmen, floated aimlessly in the Pacific until they were finally rescued 20 days later by the luxury cruise ship Norwegian Star, about 220 miles south of Hawaii.

But what caught the world’s attention was the plight of a two-year-old terrier-mix named Hokget (whose name means happiness and good fortune in Chinese) that continued to live onboard Insiko, along with the body of the dead crewman, for weeks after the others were rescued.

According to Professional Mariner, the dog was left aboard because the tanker captain and owner of the dog thought Hokget was not allowed on the cruise ship. When word got out that he was still onboard, the Hawaiian Humane Society and the Humane Society of the United States launched a rescue plan and received donations from 31 states and five countries. In fact, the society received enough money that it was able to hire a tow company for $48,000 to launch a search for the dog.

Yet as weeks passed, nobody could locate the ship, and many feared vessel and dog had gone down in international waters. Finally a Coast Guard plane spotted the ship 620 miles from Honolulu.

On April 26, a month after the fire, Hokget was finally rescued by a salvage tug crew who fed her ham and spareribs as the tug towed Insiko to shore. The dog arrived in Hawaii on May 2, greeted by a horde of reporters, photographers, well-wishers, and animal-rights activists.

Apart from having a few fleas, Hokget appeared to be in good health, and according to subsequent reports, a longtime family friend of the tanker captain was planning to adopt her.

Next page > Part 2: Where There’s Lint, There’s Fire > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

This article originally appeared in the January 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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