Solo sailor's cat quarantined in New Zealand

AAP reports that a French yachtsman who is circumnavigating the globe single-handed has been separated from his feline first mate after running into New Zealand authorities.

Navy, the cat, has accompanied sailor Francis Tolan since he set sail from France as part of La Longue Route solo circumnavigation event in June. But while the pair have made their way around Africa, across the Indian Ocean and to Tasmania, a stop for much-needed repairs in New Zealand's South Island has seen Navy confined to a cage, owing to the country's strict biosecurity laws.

Staff from the NZ Ministry for Primary Industries have taken the 18-month-old feline to a temporary quarantine location while the Alizes II, which came into Careys Bay near the town of Dunedin on Sunday, gets its hull fixed.

“The cat may have to be moved to a quarantine facility, depending on how long it takes to carry out the repairs,” a ministry spokesman said. It was likely the cat could leave with its owner once the boat was ready, he added.

Tolan said in a statement on Wednesday: “My cat is part of my journey and my life on the boat.”

Navy was a good crewmate who enjoyed sea life and even had his own life-jacket on board, he told the Otago Daily Times.

“We don't know if there's another cat that's made this trip,” he said.

 La Longue Route is a 50th anniversary tribute to sailor Bernard Moitessier's journey during the 1968 Golden Globe Race, the first non-stop, solo round-the world yacht race.
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