All over the North Atlantic, people have been discovering Nike shoes washed up on beaches. It is suspected that they are the result of lost shipping containers that fell off a cargo ship over a year ago.
So far, they have been found in the Bahamas, Bermuda, and all around the UK and Ireland. The first of the shoes to be seen was on Azores Islands back in September 2018 and it didn’t take long for beachcombers to realize that this was no coincidence. Not only were they the same model, but were unworn, and had the same production dates printed on the labels.
In 2018, a Maersk Shanghai cargo ship reported some lost cargo due to rough seas near the coast of North Carolina. Although nine containers were recovered, the US Coast Guard claimed that more than 70 containers had been lost. As a reference, one of those containers has the capability of housing up to 29,000 pairs of Nike trainers.
It is assumed that the sneakers were carried in by the Gulf stream, which covers all of the areas the shoes have been reported found. One man from Ireland, who is convinced they came from the Maersk Shanghai, claims he has collected 100 shoes a day since they first appeared on his local shores.
Lauren Eyles, from the Maritime Conservation Society, does not doubt that the number of shoes circulating North Atlantic will have detrimental effects on the environment. They are covered in microplastics which won’t decay and will harm marine life.
Furthermore, Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer, who has helped with a Nike cleanup before, believes that all the shoes will be circulating in the North Atlantic currents for decades to come. The issue has brought up major concerns about lost shipping containers. Apparently, the World Shipping Council only reports an estimated tenth of how many are actually lost at sea, which is an outrage to many. Nike has yet to comment on the situation.