Thanks To A Shipping Container Accident, Residents Of Cornwall England Find Thousands Of What On Their Beaches?
Answer: LEGO Parts
In 1997, a rogue wave—a wave that appears suddenly in the ocean and is significantly larger than nearby waves—slammed into the freighter Tokio Express while it was en route between Rotterdam and New York City. The wave tilted the ship 60 degrees in one direction, then tilted it back 40 degrees in the opposite direction, causing 62 shipping containers to break free in the process.
Among the cargo lost was a shipping container filled with nearly five million LEGO pieces. Ironically, a large number of the LEGO pieces lost at sea were nautically themed pieces for the LEGO Aquazone and LEGO Pirates product lines. Among the nautically themed pieces were life preservers, scuba tanks, sea grass, swimming flippers, spear guns, octopuses, and cutlasses.
Since the accident, residents of nearby Cornwall, England have been finding the pieces along the beach. Some two decades on, storms still churn up enough pieces to make beach combing a LEGO collecting adventure. In fact, the little pieces have journeyed even farther than England, and have since been spotted in far off places like Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas after getting caught up in ocean currents. Based on projections from a project currently tracking the appearances of the pieces around the world, it is expected that some pieces will transit the Northwest Passage and arrive on the coast of Washington state by 2020.
Image courtesy of @smartie_lids_on_the_beach.