Matson Navigation Company, which spilled close to 250,000 gallons of molasses into Honolulu Harbor in 2013 has settled with the state to the tune of $15.4 million. This money will help to offset the corals reefs that were killed because of the spill, $5.9 million for the cleanup efforts and to grow a coral nursery, and $2 million in legal costs.
Read About the Matson Molasses Spill
“We can’t take back what happened but we’ve done our best to make it right,” Matson President and CEO Matt Cox said in a statement released to the media. According to KITV 4 News, the bulk of the settlement, about $9.5 million, will be used to remove Matson’s molasses operations in Honolulu, effectively killing that part of the company’s business,. Matson also said that the fines will not be passed onto its customers (Matson is the largest shipping company operating out of Hawaii) but will take it as a loss.
This image shows the Matson molasses spill creeping into Keehi Lagoon. Photo by Hawaii State Dept of Health.
“In order to resolve a claim like this, it easily would have taken 8 to 12 years,” said Doug Chin, Hawaii’s state attorney general. “In this case this was a complete decimation with very low likelihood that coral is going to regrow for many many years, Chin told KITV 4 News.
More than 26,000 fish were killed asa result of the Matson spill, most which suffocated. Screengrab by KHON/Youtube
Coral reefs are one of the most prized natural resources in the 50th state. A 2011 peer-reviewed report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration valued Hawaii’s coral reef ecosystems at more than $30 billion a year.