What connects the 'Ever Given', the Suez Canal and 7,200 rubber ducks loose in the Pacific?

Both ships were reportedly chartered by the same company

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As the world watches efforts to free the Ever Given, a 200,000-tonne cargo ship stuck sideways in the Suez Canal since Tuesday, few will know its link to another incident that kept the world spellbound.

Evergreen Marine Corporation operates the Ever Given on behalf of the ship's owner Shoei Kisen, which has apologised for blocking one of the world's busiest commercial sea routes.

In January 1992, a ship reportedly operated by Evergreen and owned by a Greek company called Technomar Shipping spilled 28,800 plastic toys into the Pacific Ocean during a storm.

The Ever Laurel arrived in the port of Tacoma in Washington state a day later than scheduled from Hong Kong after reports of heavy storms.

It is thought the boat may have dipped and rolled in large waves, causing a container to slip off into sea.

Donovan Hohn, who wrote Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea about the spill and the fate of the floating creatures, found 7,200 each of plastic red beavers, blue turtles, green frogs and classic yellow rubber ducks were accidentally released into the Pacific.

"For years the identity of the ship was a well-kept secret, but by consulting old shipping schedules published in the Journal of Commerce and preserved on scratched spools of microfiche in a library basement, I, by process of elimination, solved this riddle: the ship was the Evergreen Ever Laurel, owned by a Greek company called Technomar Shipping and operated by the Taiwanese Evergreen Marine Corp," Mr Hohn wrote in an extract of his book printed by The Guardian.

Efforts to free Suez vessel continue through another night

Efforts to free Suez vessel continue through another night

In the years since, oceanographers have used the floating toys, nicknamed friendly floatees, to track currents, giving insight into the world's climate.

The toys have washed up on many far shores, travelling more than 27,360 kilometres by some estimates.

Evergreen now operates a different ship named the Ever Laurel, which was built in 2012.

It travels today between the Far East and South America.

Spills from cargo ships are relatively common in stormy weather.

In December, hundreds of containers were lost from the One Apus when stacks collapsed as it travelled the Pacific north of Hawaii.