It is always pleasing to hear Colins story still entertains people even now. Recently we were contacted by 98.5 Sonshine FM in Perth Australia to retell Colins magnificent journey for the radio segment "On this day". Where historical 'on this day' stories are remembered.
Arun kindly retold Colins exciting journey on behalf of Port Taranaki and a recording is available to listen to here
Eiji (left) and Chiharu Kitai at Colin's memorial stone outside the tanker terminal at Port Taranaki.
Chiharu and Eiji Kitai live in Queenstown where they work for the Department of Conservation. In 2001 Chiharu wrote an article on Colins rescue mission which was published in a Japanese cat magazine.
In 01 October 2009, Chiharu and Eiji, enroute from Wellington to Auckland, dropped by to see where Colins had lived.
The chrysanthemums which they brought are offered as an expression of condolence in Japanese culture.
We will all miss our little friend who had become a permanent feature at Newton King Tanker Terminal.
How can we forget the sight of that little figure waiting at the door for the next shift to come on duty.
Colins was a bright and noisy little soul who will be greatly missed, the place will not be the same.
A TRULY REMARKABLE CAT.
"No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat…" Leo Dworken.
Hello all - It is with sadness I read of the demise in this mornings paper of that most famous feline! The "search and rescue" operation we mounted and the publicity that ensued was amongst the most amazing/intriguing/satisfying incidents of my shipping career.
Again - sincere condolences
Larry Stewart and all at HOOKERS.
Hi Arun — Just saw the news on the internet. Very sad to read. I imagine it is pretty tough for Gordon, you and the team.
Please pass on condolences from The Workflow Group.
Saul - Workflow Group
That's so terribly sad… the watchhouse won't be the same without her. She had a wonderful life down there with you guys… What more could a pussy-cat have asked for, such adventures, and there was always a human on hand to rub her chin.
Hope you're not feeling too gloomy…
I was saddened to hear of the loss of "Colins" this morning. Please convey my condolences to all in the Security Team.
NKTT and Security Team,
Sorry to hear about Colin's Cat, I remember from my days as a student working at the port that she definitely was a key feature! Count yourselves lucky that you had such a friend at work; it is not often these days that you are allowed such benefits!
As my Dad says, cats can be the best company, they don't ask for much, and don't argue back! Keep smiling :)
It's now three years since Colin's cat became an international celebrity, with worldwide publicity of her unscheduled trip from Port Taranaki to South Korea aboard a methanol tanker.
The female feline seems unfazed by celebrity status, despite visitors to the port still asking about her and continued hits to her own website and the odd email inquiry.
"Colin's doesn't stray far from her home these days. She occasionally wanders down the wharf with me, though she doesn't go onboard vessels any more," says Newton King Tanker Terminal superintendent Gordon MacPherson, who brought the tortoiseshell back home in December 2001 after the cat had been taken onboard the departing tanker bound for Yeosu.
"She's never been as adventurous since her epic voyage; she's now an older and wiser cat. She still hunts, stalks seagulls occasionally, though the last time she caught anything was about a year ago when she got a bird."
"So she's not really earning her keep, which I guess is understandable since she must be about twelve years old by now. She's still cunning, timing it well with getting fed before people go off duty and then approaching the next person for another feed after they start their shift."
"I've been contacted by a Japanese girl in Queenstown who wanted to write a story about her for a Japanese cat magazine and we've had emails from Californian students wanting to know more about her. She's certainly better off than before her voyage, with a lifetime supply of food and yearly checks by Moturoa veterinarian Wesley Bell, all paid for by pet food manufacturer Whiskas."
A recent highlight for the port puss was the visit from Australia of former tanker terminal manager Colin Butler who adopted the cat, hence the name "Colin's".
A special little girl and a famous cat met for the first time yesterday - and it was love at first sight.
New Plymouth four-year-old Rebecca Marshall-Smith-O'Connell has a tumour, but she cannot receive radiotherapy treatment until she is seven. As a result, Rebecca has to regularly travel to Auckland's Starship Hospital for treatment in an effort to keep the tumour reduced.
All this costs money, and Taranaki child care group Te Kaweora has organised an appeal to raise funds to help Rebecca and her family.
But money has been slow to come in - and in The Daily News yesterday, Te Kaweora nurse manager Maata Wharehoka bemoaned the fact that while the recent adventures of Port Taranaki cat Colin's had received massive public support, the appeal for the seriously ill child was struggling. So yesterday Port Taranaki responded by donating $500 to Rebecca's appeal. And Rebecca and her family were invited to the port to meet Colin's, then go for a spin around the harbour in a tug.
Rebecca might be a very ill little girl, but yesterday all troubles were forgotten once she and Colin's laid eyes on each other. The attraction was immediate - and for a few minutes in the quiet of a back room at the port, a brightly smiling child and a deeply purring little cat spent time alone, thoroughly enjoying each other's company.
Port Taranaki spokesman Jon Hacon said his company - and Colin's - were happy to assist Rebecca. "You could say that Colin's had a bit of a whip around and raised $500 for the (ahem) kitty," he said.
Rebecca's mother, Glenys Marshall-Smith, said her daughter had a ball.
"I told her that Colin's liked her because I'd rubbed tuna oil on her head! Seriously though, what happened at the port was something special. That Colin's is a beautiful cat," she said.
Anyone who wishes to make a donation can place one at any TSB Bank branch.
The account is under Rebecca Marshall-Smith-O'Connell, 15-3952-0441894-00.
Colin's the stowaway cat received a hero's welcome as her big adventure came to an end in New Plymouth yesterday.
A white limousine and several television cameras met Colin's and her minder, Gordon MacPherson, at the New Plymouth Airport after a flight from South Korea.
"Colin's is happy to be back and she is in excellent condition," Mr MacPherson said, stepping off the plane amid the cameras clicking.
"Meowwww," agreed Colin's.
Since port cat Colin's boarded the methanol tanker Tomiwaka with a crewman bound for Korea nearly three weeks ago the international media has followed her adventure. Initially, she was to be transferred at sea to another tanker heading to New Plymouth.
But that proved too dangerous, and a petfood company came to the rescue, agreeing to foot the bill for Colin's' airfare.
When she finally arrived at her home at Port Taranaki yesterday, more than 50 workers, New Plymouth Mayor Peter Tennent and Taranaki Cat Club representatives cheered her arrival.
But a few non-cat lovers were in evidence "I can't believe it. This is heinous," muttered one port worker.
Once inside, Colin's was released from her cage, with more applause and camera clicking.
"Thank you for coming to rescue me," said Colin's' translator, Mr MacPherson.
"When I settle down I will write to everyone but today I'm a bit jetlagged. It's the first time I've been on a 747 aeroplane and I'm tired."
Mr Tennent thanked Colin's for bringing publicity to New Plymouth and awarded her an honorary ambassadorship of the city.
But Colin's was having none of it and ran into a corner.
Colin's was also made an honorary member of the cat club and invited to attend the 2002 show. Colin's' head started twitching and her ears flattened.
A Whiskas spokesperson said Lucky Petfoods understood the special place pets had with people, which is why it helped reunite Colin's with people at the port.
Whiskas also gave Colin's a lifetime supply of Whiskas cat food.
Then Colin's was taken outside and away from all the people.
She looked purrfectly at home and even eyed a nearby bird.
Mr MacPherson said the trip went smoothly and people were very helpful.
"I'm a little bit tired. I've had about 10 hours sleep since I left."
He said he and Colin's received first class treatment all the way and Korean Airlines upgraded his seat.
Mr MacPherson's parting words to Colin's before heading for a rest himself was: "Don't talk to any strangers again."
By JULIET SMITH AND REUTERS
Colin's the stowaway cat has finally been reunited with her master, 18 days after she took a catnap on a South Korea-bound tanker that took to sea.
Port Taranaki tanker terminal superintendent Gordon MacPherson embraced the cat when she came ashore at the South Korean port of Yeosu yesterday after a 9600km journey.
"Many people have been involved in getting Colin's back to New Zealand and we're very grateful for that," Mr MacPherson said.
He thanked the crew of the tanker Tomiwaka for their care, Whiskas pet food and Korea Airlines for airfare and quarantine officers in South Korea and New Zealand for speeding the return of a cat he said "kept us company for many long nights.
"We'll have to give her a talking to – not to talk to strange men!" he said.
Four Korean camera crews recorded Mr MacPherson being reunited with Colin's yesterday.
An e-mail to Mr MacPherson's partner said Colin's seemed happy to see him. But she was a bit confused by all the people.
Colin's, who lives at Port Taranaki's tanker terminal, became a household name after she was taken on the tanker Tomiwaka and did not get off before the ship set sail.
Meanwhile, Colin's return is sparking catfood rivalries.
Whiskas cat food has sponsored Mr MacPherson and Colin's trip, but Go-Cat have also got in on the act.
A Friskies Go-Cat advertisement in The Daily News today has a letter from Colin's about her adventure and offers a reduced Go-Cat price on the cat's return. Whiskas spokesperson Jeff Herkt was unruffled. He said port authorities approached Whiskas and they were more than happy to help get Colin's back.
SEOUL (Reuters): Colin's the stowaway pussy has finally been reunited with her master, 18 days after she took a catnap on a South Korea-bound tanker that took to sea.
The saga of the sleepy stowaway began on November 15, when the nine-year-old white, black and gold cat curled up with a South Korean sailor who had taken her aboard a methane tanker for a meal at New Zealand's Port Taranaki.
It ended 9600km later at the South Korean port of Yosu yesterday, when thankful James Gordon MacPherson embraced the cat that he and his fellow dockworkers had raised at Port Taranaki since the early 1990s.
The New Zealand dockworkers had tried to arrange a mid-sea ship-to-ship cat transfer that was abandoned as too risky. To calm the New Zealanders' worries, South Korean captain Chang Seong-mo sent email photos of Colin's back to the port.
"Many people have been involved in getting Colin's back to New Zealand and we're very grateful for that," MacPherson told South Korea's YTN television network.
He thanked the crew of the tanker Tomikawa for their care, Whiskas pet food and Korea Airlines for airfare and quarantine officers in South Korea and New Zealand for speeding the return of a cat he said "kept us company for many long nights".
"We'll have to give her a talking to – not to talk to strange men," he said.
Four Korean camera crews were on hand to film the cat's arrival, such is the celebrity Colin's has become.
In an email to New Plymouth, Mr MacPherson said Colin's seemed happy to meet him and purring lots.
But she was a bit confused by all the people.
Colin's is expected back home this afternoon at Port Taranaki's tanker terminal after flying from Korea.
But her return is sparking catfood rivalries.
Whiskas catfood has sponsored Mr MacPherson and Colin's' trip home, but Go-Cat have also got in on the act.
A Friskies Go-Cat advertisement in The Daily News yesterday has a letter from Colin's about her adventure and offers a reduced Go-Cat price on her return.
Whiskas spokesman Jeff Herkt was unruffled.
He said port authorities approached Whiskas, which was more than happy to help get Colin's back.
"We have put a lot of time into it and it will be great to catch up with her at the airport," he said.
Colin's, the famous stowaway cat from New Plymouth, isn't the world's first celebrity 'work pet'.
Colin's is winging her way back to New Zealand after stowing away on the methanol tanker Tomiwaka and spending two weeks at sea before landing at Yeosu, Korea. Her return to New Zealand has been organised by the makers of Whiskas in New Zealand.
Whiskas spokesperson Jeff Herkt said he believed the earliest celebrity work pet was 'Owney', an abandoned and freezing mongrel who was discovered outside a New York post office in 1888.
"The dog was recovered by sympathetic postal workers, warmed inside mailbags and nursed back to health," Mr Herkt said.
"For the next nine years, a grateful Owney accompanied Albany postal workers on their routes and later travelled on mail cars a distance of over 140,000 across the nation, eventually becoming an unofficial mascot of the United States Postal Service."
"Like Owney, Colin's is a wonderful example of an animal that brings a lot of pleasure to people everywhere. That's something Whiskas is delighted to support," Mr Herkt said.
Colin's, the world-famous cat from New Plymouth, has been safely collected in Yeosu, Korea, by Port Taranaki Tanker Terminal Superintendent Gordon MacPherson.
The adventurous cat, who normally lives at Port Taranaki's tanker terminal, Port Taranaki, has spent the past two weeks on the methanol tanker Tomiwaka, after stowing away when it was in New Plymouth.
Port Taranaki spokesperson Jon Hacon says the company's staff are delighted to hear from Mr MacPherson that Colin's was fit and well.
"We're anxiously waiting to get Colin's back at the Port where she belongs," Mr Hacon said. "She's a key part of our community and it will be great to see her again."
Whiskas spokesperson Jeff Herkt says the pet food makers decided to help bring Colin's home after hearing from Port Taranaki about the close relationship between the port workers and the much-loved moggy.
"Colin's is a wonderful example of an animal that brings a lot of pleasure to people everywhere. That's something we're delighted to support," Mr Herkt said.
"Animals are beneficial in the workplace. For shyer people or new people at work, animals are a great way of breaking the ice. They're a great conversation starter and it's easier to go and meet other people when there's an animal around."
"Pets at work can also increase camaraderie among employees and improve staff morale."
Mr Herkt said research presented at an international conference earlier this year showed that companion animals have a positive effect on human physical and psychological well-being.
The 9th International Human-Animal Interactions Conference in Rio de Janeiro during September, with which Whiskas was involved, saw the release of a variety of research studies.
Findings from the University of Bonn, Germany, indicated that pet dogs can have a stabilising and therapeutic effect for children caught in the conflicts of a divorce crisis. Other results from Warwick University proved that pets provide valuable support to women adjusting to and coping with breast cancer, and studies from France and Italy showed the benefits of animal assisted therapy in communicating with and treating geriatric patients.
The Conference, which was held in Rio de Janeiro in September, was sponsored by the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, which provides the science behind the pet food brands Whiskas and Pedigree.
By ROB MAETZIG
Colin's the cat's epic journey is halfway over – all she has to do now is fly home.
And when she gets back to Taranaki, she's to be made an honorary New Plymouth ambassador.
The Taranaki cat, who has spent the past two weeks aboard a methanol tanker bound for South Korea, arrived at Yeosu yesterday afternoon.
She was promptly collected by Port Taranaki's tanker terminal superintendent Gordon MacPherson, and last night the pair were on their way to Seoul to catch a Korean Air flight to New Zealand.
The plane is expected to touch down in Auckland tomorrow and Colin's and her minder will then fly to New Plymouth for a big welcome home.
New Plymouth Mayor Peter Tennent said the decision to make Colin's an honorary ambassador was only fair, given the publicity that the cat had generated for New Plymouth and Taranaki.
The certificate of honorary ambassadorship states that Colin's is receiving the award in recognition of her involvement in the enhancement of international relations, on behalf of the people and felines of New Plymouth.
Port Taranaki spokesman Jon Hacon said yesterday the port had been working closely with authorities to obtain a permit to bring Colin's home.
"There are lots of conditions to meet, and we're respecting those," he said.
Among those conditions is a requirement for Colin's to travel in a sealed cage from the tanker Tomiwaka to Seoul airport. This will be carried out under the supervision of Mr McPherson and a staff member from the Yeosu Quarantine Authority.
The cat's great adventure began at Port Taranaki more than a fortnight ago when the Tomiwaka's second engineer took her aboard the tanker for a meal. Man and cat then fell asleep, and when they woke the tanker had sailed.
Although Colin's was a little seasick early in the journey, she's now a real sailor, the ship's crew reports.
To prove it, yesterday the master of the Tomiwaka e-mailed a photograph of the cat sitting quietly in the ship's bridge as it neared South Korea.
"I suppose the tanker terminal staff are worry about the present condition of the cat onboard," he said in an accompanying message.
"She's still healthy and has been keeping the good condition. When I have seen her until now, I think she's very nice cat. When I gave her the Pringle potato chip this afternoon, she ate very well."
Colin's the cat on the bridge of the Tomiwaka. This photo was emailed by the crew, who say that the cat is in healthy condition.
By JULIET SMITH
Gordon MacPherson is on an overseas mission to collect Colin's, the well-loved Port Taranaki cat. Yesterday, at the New Plymouth Airport, the duty
superintendent said he was ecstatic about about going to get his favourite cat, who became a celebrity after she boarded a ship to Korea a few weeks ago.
"From the beginning I've said I would go and bring her back. I suppose I'm the number one provider. When Colin (the original owner) left he was concerned because he couldn't take the cat with him so I took over," Mr MacPherson said.
He will stay in a hotel in the port town of Yeosu until the methanol tanker Tomiwaka, delayed for a few days by bad weather, arrives. From there, Korean agricultural staff will accompany Mr MacPherson and Colin's to Seoul, making sure correct quarantine procedures are followed.
"I understand the cat gets to sit with me on the international flight from Yeosu," he said.
It is Mr MacPherson's first trip to Korea, although Japan was his home for four years when he worked on oil rigs. All arrangements have been funded by the pet-food company that produces Whiskas.
Mr MacPherson said that Colin's was a unique cat, although he liked cats generally. His own family cat Chelsea, a pedigree British Blue, is unaware she has competition.
"I don't think I will tell her why I went away," he said.
By Iain MacIntyre
A resident Port Taranaki cat's insatiable appetite has led the tortoise-shelled moggy on an unplanned ocean voyage and launched the port company into a rescue mission. Named after the port employee who originally adopted her, Colin's Cat has lived at Port Taranaki's tanker terminal and forged a bond with it's staff since she was dumped there nine years ago. Considered a very 'vocal' animal, Colin's Cat is renowned for using her wiles to get food at every possibility.
It is this trait that apparently saw her end up on the methanol tanker Tomiwaka heading for Korea two weeks ago. According to Port Taranaki tanker terminal watch-house staff member Garth Stone, Colin's Cat "spoke" to one of the Tomiwaka's crew and convinced him to take her onboard for a meal.
"Unfortunately, both of them fell asleep in his cabin - and by the time they woke up, the tanker had sailed," said Mr Stone.
As luck would have it, the Tomiwaka is not expected to return to Port Taranaki and if Colin's Cat is taken ashore in Korea to wait for the next available vessel, she may have to be quarantined for several months before being allowed back into New Zealand. Consequently the port company's staff are investigating the possibility of an expensive ship-to-ship rescue. "We hear there are about three methanol tankers in the general area which are schedulued to sail to Port Taranaki. There's all sorts of action going on regarding a possible transfer. We hope it works, our cat's a lovely little thing."
The vessel's captain is understood to be sympathetic to the plight. According to an episode of Holmes, which featured the development this week, Colin's Cat is also considered somewhat of a tanker terminal watch-cat - once backing down a seal that was attempting to come onto port land. At the time of writing, the Tomiwaka was understood to be somewhere north of Korea.
From the New Zealand Shipping Gazette.
The makers of WHISKAS are coming to the rescue of stowaway feline Colin's. The pet food company is organising flights for a Port Taranaki staff member to collect the cat in Korea and fly her back to New Zealand.
The adventurous cat, who normally lives at Port Taranaki tanker terminal, Port Taranaki, has spent the past two weeks on the methanol tanker Tomiwaka, after stowing away when it was in New Plymouth. A dramatic plan to transfer Colin's to another tanker in mid-sea was discarded after it was deemed too risky.
With time running out before Colin's arrives in the South Korean Port of Yeosu, Whiskas have offered to sponsor flights and throw a welcome home party for the much loved moggy.
The complicated logistical details are still being finalised but Whiskas spokesperson Jeff Herkt said the company would make every effort to ensure the trip home for Colin's was comfortable and safe.
"There has been unprecedented public interest in Colin's story, both in New Zealand and overseas. We're delighted to be of assistance and will have a large helping of nutritious Whiskas on hand for her when she comes home."
Port spokesperson Jon Hacon said Port Taranaki were delighted Whiskas had come to the rescue. Staff at the port were anxiously awaiting Colin's return, he said.
By JULIET SMITH
Pet food company Whiskas has taken over the mission of bringing Colin's the celebrity cat back to New Plymouth.
When Colin's arrives in the Korean port of Yeosu on Sunday, Port Taranaki's duty superintendent Gordon MacPherson will be there to escort the stowaway cat home by plane.
Whiskas confirmed yesterday it had taken up the cause, and would pay the cost of returning Colin's back home to Port Taranaki.
"There has been unprecedented public interest in the Colin's story, both in New Zealand and overseas. We're delighted to be of assistance," Whiskas spokesman Jeff Herkt said.
A welcome home party will await Colin's when she arrives.
The cat, who has lived at Port Taranaki's tanker terminal for nine years, boarded the methanol tanker Tomiwaka two weeks ago for a ship feed but did not get off before the ship set sail for Korea.
Since then, her plight has made national and international news, including the BBC.
Initially, a transfer for the cat on to a ship bound for Port Taranaki was considered, but deemed too dangerous.
Port Taranaki's tanker terminal manager Arun Chaudhari said he could not give out details because of an exclusive agreement with a television show.
"We will be thrilled to see the cat back, so long as it doesn't snowball into a media or commercial blitz."
Mr Chaudhari said he had talked to Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry officials and shipping agents who had got clearance from local quarantine officers, providing the cat was taken straight to the airport and flown back to New Zealand.
The Korean authorities were helpful and co-operative he said.
Meanwhile, others were working hard to get Colin's home, including New Plymouth travel agent Linda Simpson-Lina and Korean airline KAL.
She said after reading the story in The Daily News she rang KAL to try to co-ordinate the cat's return.
Her own 20-year-old cat had been run over by a car and she said the story touched a nerve.
"I thought let's try and do something for goodwill and the festive season," she said.
KAL sales manager Michael Dowling had the last word yesterday: "Korean people think we are strange, all this fuss over a cat," he said.
By NEIL RITCHIE
Colin's the stowaway cat might not be home for six weeks.
Waterfront Shipping operations representative Peter van Leeuwen yesterday dashed hopes of a ship-to-ship transfer before she arrives in the South Korean port of Yeosu on Sunday.
"It's proving much more difficult to handle a single stowaway than 30,000 tonnes of methanol. Everybody's getting involved, the Korean media, everybody," Mr van Leeuwen, Auckland, said.
The resident moggy at Port Taranaki was recently "exported" after she went aboard the methanol tanker Tomiwaka a fortnight ago.
Initially, it was hoped Colin's could be transferred to another ship heading to Port Taranaki, but Mr van Leeuwen said the risk of collision and explosion was too high.
"Any transfer would need to be done in sheltered waters, using a life raft, and that's just not possible," he said. "So we will have to officially import the cat to South Korea when the Tomiwaka arrives at Yeosu, do all the documentation, maybe quarantine, and leave it in the care of the shipping agent until we have a ship coming to New Zealand from Yeosu or Ulsan."
After arriving back in New Zealand, Colin's might face several weeks in quarantine before being allowed to return to her home port.
It was not possible to leave the cat onboard the Tomiwaka until it returned to New Zealand as the vessel was on its final journey before heading for the breaker's yards.
The only hope for a quick return of the feline lay in an airline offering to fly the animal back from South Korea, Mr van Leeuwen said.
Colin's, named after a port employee called Colin, and known officially as "Colin's Cat," has lived at the tanker terminal for nine years.
Tanker terminal superintendent Chris Jenkins confirmed port staff had three months ago installed a special perspex cover over the terminal's gas detection and emergency shutdown panels because of Colin's.
"She always slept on top of the briefcase which sits above these panels and, as she's got bigger in recent months, we had the cover installed because the panels were directly in her path if she fell."
However, Mr Jenkins denied Colin's had ever set off the emergency shutdown system by falling on the panels.
By ROB MAETZIG
An international mercy mission has been launched to rescue a Taranaki cat that has stowed away on a methanol tanker.
The cat – a friendly tortoiseshell called Colin's – wandered on to the ship two weeks ago and is now somewhere north of Papua-New Guinea on the way to Korea.
The maritime moggy is resident puss at Port Taranaki's tanker terminal in New Plymouth, and staff there are organising a ship-to-ship cat transfer to another tanker heading here.
They fear that if she is taken ashore in Korea to wait for the next ship to New Plymouth, she may then have to be quarantined for several months before being allowed into New Zealand.
"We're hoping for a ship-to-ship transfer so our cat doesn't land in Korea," said tanker terminal watch-house staff member Garth Stone yesterday.
"We hear there's about three methanol tankers in the general area which are scheduled to sail to Port Taranaki.
"There's all sorts of action going on regarding a possible transfer. We hope it works – our cat's a lovely little thing."
To further complicate the issue, it's not possible to simply leave the cat on board the Korean-crewed Tomiwaka until it returns to New Zealand.
When it sailed on November 13 it was on its final journey, and will then head for the breaker's yards.
Colin's – so named because she was originally adopted by an employee called Colin, and became known as Colin's Cat – has lived at the port's tanker terminal ever since she was dumped there nine years ago. "She thinks she runs the place," said Mr Stone.
"She's also a very vocal cat, and recently, when she spoke to one of the Tomiwaka's crew, he thought she was hungry and took her aboard for a meal.
"Unfortunately, both of them then fell asleep in his cabin – and by the time they woke up the tanker had sailed.
"Right now, Colin's is heading north, somewhere near Papua-New Guinea."
The crew of the Tomiwaka e-mailed a photo of Colin's to The Daily News last night, proving that the seafaring feline was fit and well, though possibly overfed.
New Plymouth shipping agent Larry Stewart confirmed details of the complicated international dealings currently under way, so New Plymouth can get its port cat back.
"I tell you, I've got a file about three feet thick.
"It all started when the tanker terminal guys said their cat was missing and could we check with all the tankers that had visited to see if they had it.
"I couldn't believe it when the Tomiwaka confirmed that it had Colin's on board.
"And we're trying for the transfer. The Tomiwaka is due at Yeosu next week, and we're hoping to have arranged something by then."
Mr Stone said the eight operators at the tanker terminal really missed their cat, and wanted her back.
"She's a lovely little thing. She struts around all over the place.
"She really does think she owns the terminal. For example, the other day she spotted a seal sunbathing there, and went nose to nose with it – and the seal backed off.
"The boys who watched reckoned it was hilarious.
"Imagine – a fully-grown seal being told off by a little tortoise-shell cat!"