OK, I know it probably sounds crazy... But the barge mentioned in the Giant Ball of Garbage episode is based on truth. In fact, there was an actual barge carrying trash from port, to port, to port in the 1980s.
Thanks to New York, 62,000 pounds of trash had no home. Hunter S. Thompson describes it as such, "The carge--62,000 pounds of rotten meat, human excrement and unspecified toxic wastes--is so foul that it can't even be sunk in the deepest holes of the ocean" (Thompson, 237).
Also true to the episode, "It has been turned away from prots in North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Cuba, and Mexico...Not even Haiti will allow the monstrous thing near its shorline, for any amount of money" (Thompson, 237).
So Haiti seems to be the really nasty country that wouldn't accept it. Admit it, you thought it was FRANCE!
If you want more information, the New York Times archive lists articles from April 25, 1987 and several dates after that. If you have access to digital archives, look for Harvey Gulf International, since they were dragging the thing with one of their tugboats.
The NYT also states that the trash was burned
on August 11, 1987. Sad that it had to go out that way.
Also, the name of the barge is Mobro, similar to Morbo's name... Interesting to note too, I suppose. I wonder if that's the inspiration?
Hopefully, no one's posted this yet. I'd love to be the one to discover this.
Thompson, Hunter S. Generation of Swine: Gonzo Papers Volume 2: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the 80s. Simon and Schuster, 1988.
NYT Digital Archives
Yeah... I'm an English major so I have to at least informally cite my sources... Sorry...