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Molasses Spill in Honolulu
Harbor Results in Fish Kill

Updated 03:07 PM HST, September 11, 2013
Posted 01:43 PM HST, September 11, 2013
Aerial approach to Kahului Airport. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Aerial approach to Kahului Airport. File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

Crews continue efforts today to collect dead fish from waters around Honolulu Harbor and Keʻehi Lagoon on Oʻahu where an estimated 233,000 gallons of molasses is believed to have spilled, officials said.

The state Department of Health issued an advisory on Tuesday saying that, “while molasses is not harmful to the public directly, the substance is polluting the water, causing fish to die, and could lead to an increase in predator species such as sharks, barracuda and eels.”

The spill could also lead to an increase in unusual marine algae growth, and a rise in harmful bacteria that could trigger other environmental impacts, according to information released by the DOH in a press release.

The DOH is also advising the public not to consume any of the dead fish that may be found in the area, and to stay out of the ocean in areas where the brown plume is present.

Health officials say the dark substance was seen in the water after a Matson ship was loaded with molasses early Monday morning. As much as 1,400 tons of the substance may have entered the harbor from a leak in a pipeline located under Pier 52, officials said.

Crews from Matson located the leak and began work yesterday to patch the line. Water samples were also being collected by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and DOH staff, “to monitor the movement of the plume and judge how long it will take to flush out to sea,” authorities said.

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  • stand alone

    Wow, that’s about the equivalent to 5682 barrels that spilled. Bitter sweet..

  • PaodeQueijo

    Yet another reason to hate Matson.

  • kiki

    Isn’t anyone watching the loading while it is being done? There should be. I hope they get a hefty fine

  • Yortuk Festrunk

    I understand that the chemical compound Dihydrogen Monoxide is used EXTENSIVELY in the shipping industry, as well as by Monsanto.
    DHMO is involved in countless deaths, and yet you hardly ever hear people talk about banning it.