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After falling overboard from a container ship bound for Seattle from China in 1992, 29,000 rubber ducks are soon to end up on the Cornish coasts after a 15 year journey which has given scientists a valuable insight into surface currents.
The toys have helped researchers to chart these great ocean currents as they have been far more widely reported to authorities that the kind of floats the scientists currently use.
Rubber ducks could soon be coming ashore
"The ducks went around the North Pacific in three years - all the way from the spill site to Alaska, over to Japan and back to North America," said Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a retired oceanographer based in Seattle.
"This was twice as fast as the water at the surface - so I began to call them hyper-ducks."
The floating ducks are expected to wash up on the Cornish coast this summer, battered and bleached by their journey through the waters of the Arctic, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
After falling overboard 15 years ago, the ducks floated along the Alaskan coast, reaching the Bering Strait in 1995. It is thought they were trapped by slow moving ice for several years as it then took them until 2000 to reach the Atlantic ocean.
A year later, they were tracked in the area of the north Atlantic where the Titanic sank.
During their voyage, some of the ducks broke away - and headed for Europe - others have surfaced in Hawaii.
Beachcombers will know whether these are the genuine rubber ducks as they will have the words "The First Years" stamped upon them.
If there is a sighting then please do email us at:
last updated: 16/07/07