Matson to Pay $1 Million for Molasses Spills
HONOLULU –Matson Terminals, Inc., a Hawaii corporation, was sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard L. Puglisi today to pay a $400,000 fine plus restitution of $600,000 based on previously entered guilty pleas to two criminal charges of unlawfully discharging molasses into Honolulu Harbor. By the terms of the plea agreement filed in connection with the case, the restitution would be divided equally between the Waikiki Aquarium to support Coral Programs and Invasive Algae Clean-ups and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii to inspire local communities to care for coastlines through beach clean-ups.
Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that according to information provided to the court, Matson Terminals, which loaded molasses from storage tanks into ships in Honolulu Harbor, discharged approximately 233,000 gallons of molasses into the Harbor without authorization from at least September 9, 2013, continuing to September 10, 2013. Matson had been aware of a State of Hawaii Department of Transportation report dated July 31, 2012, that the pipeline from which the discharge occurred was leaking molasses. The discharge caused or contributed to the death of approximately 25,000 fish in the harbor.
The prosecution resulted from an investigation conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency. Assistant United States Attorneys Leslie E. Osborne, Jr. and Marshall H. Silverberg handled the prosecution.