The Story Of The 28,000 Rubber Duckies Lost At Sea

Samuel Reason | September 2nd, 2019

Ever been to the beach and seen a rubber ducky innocently floating around the sea, perhaps you even wondered why in the world would be litter like that. Well it may be that this rubber ducky is part of a 28,000 strong family that was lost at sea in 1992. An accident led to a massive cargo container tumbling into the North Pacific, which ended up dumping over 28,000 rubber ducks into the ocean.

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The bath toys were heading from China to the U.S. and the currents decided to take them for themselves. Even today people are still finding rubber ducks floating around, some as far as Maine and other shores of the Atlantic ocean. Thirteen years later, alone journalist embarked on a mission, Donovan Hohn decided he would try tracking these ducks himself. All from the comfort of his own living room.

He figured he would talk to oceanographers and figure out the currents, look up Arctic geography and then write an incredible story that depicted the bath toys touring the world – all lost at sea. He had hoped to do it from the safety of his desk, but his research quickly led to him traveling around from Seattle to Alaska to Hawaii. He even went onto China and then deep into the Arctic, all the time writing his tale which he titled Moby-Duck.

Some of the rubber ducks made it to remote places such as the Gore Point in Alaska, where a group of conservationists had been picking them up for decades. While tracking down the lost bath toys he also confronted the growing plague that is the plastics in the ocean. Plastics float for decades in the ocean and stay present in the oceans for centuries because it does not biodegrade at all.

Shipping container spills can be deadly for the ocean, the worst one in 1998, lost over 400 containers in a single night, apparently, the containers had simply fallen off like dominoes.

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