Liz Erk (lizerk) wrote,
Liz Erk
lizerk

"Rubber Ducky, You're the One, You Make International Relations Lots of Fun, Rubber Ducky..."

"...I'm Already Fond of Yoooooou!"

Anyone else remember Ernie from Sesame Street singing that one?? (Well, replace "International Relations" with "Bath time") And more importantly, any New Englanders near the water seen these yet???

Far-Flung Bathtub Toys Due in New England
Fri Jul 11,12:04 AM ET

By GREG SUKIENNIK, Associated Press Writer

BOSTON - Being thrown from a container ship, drifting for more than a decade, bobbing through three oceans — it's enough to turn a rubber duckie white.

A floating flock of the bathtub toys — along with beavers, turtles and frogs — is believed to be washing ashore somewhere along the New England coast, bleached and battered from a trans-Arctic journey. Oceanographers say the trip has taught them valuable lessons about the ocean's currents.

The toys have been adrift since 29,000 of them fell from a storm-tossed container ship en route from China to Seattle more than 11 years ago.

From a point in the Pacific Ocean near where the 45th parallel meets the international date line, they floated along the Alaska coast, reaching the Bering Strait by 1995 and Iceland five years later. By 2001 they had floated to the area in the north Atlantic where the Titanic sank.

"Some kept going, some turned and headed to Europe," says Curtis Ebbesmeyer of Seattle, a retired oceanographer who's been tracking the toys' progress. "By now, hundreds should be dispersed along the New England coast."

Ebbesmeyer has been able to track the toys with the help of duckies that washed ashore along the way. He said they have been a useful tool in teaching oceanography, and have shed light on the way surface currents behave.

They are also a sobering reminder that about 10,000 containers fall off cargo ships each year, creating all manner of flotsam and jetsam.

"When trash goes into the ocean, it doesn't disappear," Ebbesmeyer said. "It just goes somewhere else."

Fred Felleman, of the environmental group Ocean Advocates, said container ships carry 95 percent of the world's goods and are stacked higher and wider than ever before, raising the odds of spillage.

"Some 30 percent have hazardous materials in them. They're not just spilling Nikes," he said.

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Yeah, but somewhere they ARE spilling Nikes!!! Is that when they're on their way over from, say, Nigeria? Could I be wearing a pair stitched by my dear tortured Josephine Chukwama right now??? It boggles the mind...
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