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The not-so-dark corners of the internet

The ‘fringe’ of society is really very large and diverse, as a great many of us ordinary kiwis have non-ordinary fascinations.

In early May, the Facebook group “Ship Spotters New Zealand” came alive as its members keenly watched the Singaporean ship ‘Shiling’. The ship was making circles northwest of Farewell Spit, according to the GPS plotter members watched. Questions abounded and hypotheses gathered.

A day later, a Stuff journalist investigated, and the public first learned of the Shiling’s distress. Set upon by engine trouble for a second time (she had broken down off Wellington Heads in April), Shiling had been adrift with crew preparing to abandon ship. An ocean-going tug pulled her back to Wellington for maintenance. Ship Spotters NZ has returned to its regular runtime of tug tracking and cargo visits.

Online groups are a wonderful porthole into the hobbies and fascinations of Kiwis. Some on the ‘fringe’ are tracking world shipping lanes from their living rooms. It’s a reminder that there are always people out there who will be interested in your story. Public relations can help you find them.

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