Thursday, July 30, 2015

Matson Reaches Harbor Spill Settlement

By Mark Edward Nero

Honolulu-based shipping company Matson Inc. said July 29 that it has reached a settlement with the state of Hawaii to resolve any and all civil, criminal and administrative claims relating to the discharge of about 233,000 gallons of molasses into Honolulu Harbor nearly two years ago.

On Sept. 9, 2013, Matson received reports of molasses in Honolulu Harbor and after investigations in the water and under piers, Matson’s contractors discovered a hole in a pipe elbow beneath a pier. The hole was plugged and the pipe elbow was isolated from the rest of the pipeline using a metal plate. The pipe elbow was later removed and the pipe capped.

Under the agreement, Matson is to pay $5.9 million to the state as compensation for damaged coral and lost fish, as well as the state’s response and other costs. Also part of the settlement, Matson has terminated its molasses operations in Honolulu and has committed to remove the molasses risers and tanks at Sand Island terminal at an estimated cost of between $5.5 million and $9.5 million bringing the total cost to Matson of between $11.4 million and $15.4 million.

In 2013, Matson also committed to releasing a report detailing its investigation of the incident, the resulting impact to aquatic life and the settlement of legal claims. The eight-page report can now be found on Matson’s website in the news release section.

“Environmental stewardship is a core value in our company, so this event was a blow to all of us at Matson,” the company’s president and CEO, Matt Cox, said. “We can't take back what happened, but we've done our best to make it right.”