Sept 12 Health officials warned swimmers,
surfers and snorkelers to stay out of the waters near Honolulu
after a leak of 1,400 tons of molasses killed hundreds of fish,
potentially attracting sharks.
So many fish had died by Thursday that the Hawaii Department
of Health tripled cleanup crews to three boats, which removed
hundreds of fish and were expected to remove thousands more, the
department said in a statement.
A brown plume was spotted seeping into Honolulu Harbor and
Keehi Lagoon on Monday after a ship hauling molasses to the West
Coast pulled out to sea.
By Tuesday, a leak was discovered in a molasses pipeline
used to load the sweet, sticky liquid onto ships operated by
Matson Navigation Company, the international ocean transport
company, the health department said. Matson Navigation Company
is a subsidiary of Matson Inc
Matson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"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 health department said in a statement.
Another environmental danger posed by the spill of the
by-product of the refining of sugarcane was "an unusual growth
in marine algae" and harmful bacteria, the health department
The department posted signs on beaches warning people to
stay out of the water and not to consume any dead fish found in
the area. The brown plume was expected to remain visible for
weeks while natural tides and currents slowly flush the area,
the department said.