HAWAII MOLASSES SPILLSeptember 18, 2013
HAWAII MOLASSES SPILL – According to the chief executive, the transit company responsible for spilling 1,400 tons of molasses into Hawaii waters will fully pay for cleanup and other costs associated with the spill. The CEO apologized for the spill, stating that Matson Navigation Company will not ship molasses again before being confident that a similar spill will not happen.
The CEO stated that it is too early at this point to know how much the cleanup will cost, but acknowledged that the company had not planned for the possibility of a spill. Officials say that cleanup crews have already collected about 25,000 dead fish and other wildlife from surrounding waters since the discovery of the spill on September 9, 2013. The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are all joining in on the effort to cleanup and assess the damage done by the spill.
Reports say the spill took place in Honolulu Harbor, about five miles west of Waikiki, where Matson Navigation Company loads molasses and other goods for shipping. Reportedly, about 233,000 gallons of molasses spilled while the molasses was being moved from storage tanks onto ships sailing to California. Company and state officials say the leak happened when molasses seeped into a section of pipe that was supposed to be sealed off.
Safety and security management at the company reported that Matson learned of the spill from a neighbor, who noticed something in the water a day after the molasses had been shipped. Reportedly, the company had no indication after loading the ship that there had been any issues.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation, the agency which oversees Matson’s use of the harbor, said that Matson was not required to report anything about the molasses pipe, acknowledging that “it kind of went under the radar.”
Hawaii Senator said that an investigation will have to be done as to how Matson Navigation Company is regulated by state and federal officials. He reported that Matson’s lack of a spill plan and oversight of the underground pipes connected to Hawaii’s waters will also have to be examined. The Senator stated that the status of the ecosystem is still unknown at this point, as well as the full extent of the damage and how long its effects might last.
Matson Navigation Company’s CEO said that the company is reviewing what went wrong and plans to make its findings available once it has done so. For the full story, click here.
If you have suffered economic losses to your business from the Hawaii molasses spill, contact our attorneys to discuss what damages you may be entitled to seek from the responsible parties.