Last Monday, roughly 233,000 gallons of molasses were spilled into the Honolulu Harbor and Keehi Lagoon from a faulty pipeline built to transfer the molasses to a container ship. According to a local dive shop owner who filmed this underwater video, the molasses has coated the ocean floor and turned the water an amber color. It appeared as though everything had been killed by the sticky mess. The sea floor was covered in dead marine organisms that had been suffocated by the molasses. As the molasses breaks down, it pulls oxygen from the water. Coral is also being harmed by the changed environment.
The spill is also posing several danger to humans. Swimming is unadvisable as the dead fish floating on the surface of the harbor will play host to bacterial growth. It is also expected that sharks and other predatory animals will enter the harbor to feed on the dead organisms.
It will take several weeks before the molasses is completely flushed out of the harbor by the tides. In the meantime, the EPA has recommended the use of “air curtains” to oxygenate the water. The corporation responsible for the mess, Matson, has no plans in place to ameliorate the crisis.