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Hawaii assessing impact of molasses spill on Oahu

October 11, 2013
The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - State officials are continuing to assess how severely last month's molasses spill into Honolulu Harbor harmed coral, fish and other marine life.

Frazer McGilvray, administrator of the Division of Aquatic Resources, said he doesn't have an estimate of the extent or severity of coral damage.

"We know that there's significant numbers of dead coral down there," McGilvray told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in a report published Thursday. "What we've seen is substantial injuries to corals of various species below the water."

How long the assessment takes will depend on what state-contracted divers find below the surface.

What state officials conclude could eventually help determine the cost of restoring the area.

Shipping company Matson Navigation Co. has taken responsibility after a faulty pipe leaked molasses into the harbor and has pledged not to pass on cleanup costs to taxpayers and customers.

As for remediation and restoration costs, Matson said in an emailed statement that it will be in a better position to address its role once government agencies finish assessing the damage.

Whether the coral will recover depends on the "ecological conditions moving forward" in the harbor and Keehi Lagoon, McGilvray said. "Different species of corals will react differently to the molasses and recover at different rates, if there's going to be a recovery at all."

Up to 1,400 tons, or 233,000 gallons, of molasses leaked into the harbor from the Matson pipe last month. More than 26,000 fish and other marine species suffocated and died after the spill.

 
 

 

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