Northern Ireland news

Galway academics' message in a bottle found almost 3,000km away in Russian bay

The 'drifter' bottle containing a message from NUI Galway academics found in a bay in northwest Russia. Picture by Professor Ed Monahan
Staff Reporter

A MESSAGE in a bottle used by Irish scientists to study ocean currents has been discovered off the Russian coast decades after being placed into the sea at Galway.

The bottle, containing a message for the finder to contact the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway, was discovered at the bottom of a bay at Murmansk, close to the Russian border with Finland.

It is thought the bottle, described by academics as a 'drifter' was released in the sea during the 1970s or 80s as part of a project to study currents. A researcher at the university at the time, Professor Ed Monahan, was known to use drifters as part of his academic work.

However, contemporary researchers at NUI are unsure if the bottle travelled the almost 3,000 kilometres itself via currents, or was picked up and released by a vessel such as a fishing boat.

NUI oceanographer Martin White told The Irish Times he believes the bottle may have made the journey without the aid of a vessel.

"It can certainly reach there by the currents. It is likely 30 or 40 years since it was deployed. I think it is quite amazing, if it did go with the currents, that it survived intact, without leaking in the intervening years," he said.

Dr White said it was unknown if the bottle had been lodged in the sand at the bottom of the bay where it was found for many years, or if its journey took 40 years to reach Russia.

The discovery follows another message in a bottle found in August of this year by three boys at a beach in Co Kerry.

The trio came across a bottle containing a message from a Canadian fisherman that had crossed the Atlantic after being put in the water at Newfoundland.

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