Mystery as 'floating gold' starts washing up on UK beaches

A mysterious floating gold object has been located in Wales leading to widespread curiosity as to what it actually is.
A mysterious floating gold object has been located in Wales leading to widespread curiosity as to what it actually is.

A man was out walking his dog near Trearddur Bay in Wales on Boxing Day when he made the discovery

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A mysterious floating gold object has been located in Wales leading to widespread curiosity as to what it actually is.

A man was out walking his dog near Trearddur Bay in Wales on Boxing Day when he made the discovery.

He was quick to take to Twitter to see if anyone could help him identify the strange object.

Sharing an image John Carmichael tweeted: “No idea what this is washed up on Porth-y-post beach this morning.. but the dog ran straight to it and rubbed herself on it leaving her bright orange! Dog walkers beware!”

Other users debated what the gold object could be while for others it set off alarm bells.

Many urged the man to immediately get his dog checked out the toxins from the object could be deadly to her.

Anglesey Sea Zoo tweeted: “This is a palm oil berg.The colours can vary as a result of bacteria growing all over it and in it. It is a result of ships sluicing out their ballast tanks so it also contains diesel and oil contaminants and toxins. Please keep dogs away from this and don’t let them eat it!

Another user said: “It *is* very probably Palm Oil. National Trust Formby was plagued with it previously. Dogs need to avoid it. Please get your dog checked out.”

John reported the palm oil to the Holyhead Coastguard who dealt with it, but less than a week later on New Years Day, he saw it again.

Frankie Hobro, director of Anglesey Sea Zoo told the Daily Post: “This is a palm oil berg and it is common for large numbers of them to be washed up on beaches in the same area at the same time as they are produced by a ship washing out its ballast tank.

"The resulting oil bergs get carried off to shore and wash up on beaches, so large numbers of these could appear anywhere along the North Wales coast over the next week or so.”

Explaining why it is so dangerous to dogs she continued: “Palm oil is a useful cleaning agent, so it is used by large ships to clean out their fuel tanks at sea. Unbelievably, it is perfectly legal for ships to dump palm oil into the ocean when they swill out their holds anywhere in the world, as long as they are at least 12 miles offshore!

"And the result is oil bergs like this one washing up on beaches. The colour varies and so does the size and shape - they can weigh up to a quarter of a tonne! Due to their high bacterial loading and smell, dogs find them extremely interesting and are immediately attracted to them, which is what happened to the dog owner who posted this photograph.”