On January 1992, over 29,000 rubber ducks, turtles and frogs fell from a cargo ship in the Pacific Ocean. Since then, these plastic toys have been floating around the world passing Japan, Alaska and Hawaii. Some of them have spent their years frozen in an Arctic ice pack.
Rubber ducks in a river. (source)
Over 22 years ago, a 40-foot steel shipping container was knocked down due to rough seas and huge waves. Along with several other containers, all the bath toys were knocked overboard.
Some estimates suggest that up to 10,000 containers fall into the ocean every year. The World Shipping Council, whose members represent 90% of the world’s container ship capacity, say that figure is grossly exaggerated and estimate that on average no more than 350 containers are lost annually.
Due to severe weather and high seas, accidents or incorrect stowage, there are now shipping containers littering the seabed all around the world. Many float on the surface for months, some rupture and release their goods, but most eventually sink to the bottom — creating deep-sea stepping stones between ports across the globe.
Rubber ducks floating on water. (source)
Since the accident, oceanographer’s have tried to track all the bath toys. Only about 3% of the missing toys have been reported. It is also estimated that there are only about a few hundred items left drifting in the world’s seas. CNN has published a map that indicates where the toys have run ashore. You can see the map through this link.
Tuomas P. // SMC Editor
The cover photo article: Sonetel’s similarity with a big rubber duck