What’s Worse Than an Oil Spill? A Molasses Spill

Thousands of fish — gasping desperately, then floating lifelessly — surfaced in Honolulu Harbor this week, suffering from oxygen deprivation caused by a massive molasses spill. This strange case of sugary suffocation was brought on by the Matson Shipping Company, which was loading one of its vessels with 1,600 tons of molasses through a pipeline in the harbor early Monday morning when a leak sprung. Matson reported that up to 1,400 tons of the sludgy syrup may have escaped into the harbor and nearby Ke’ehi Lagoon.

There is no way to clean up a molasses spill. “It’s sunk to the bottom of the harbor,” Matson spokesman Jeff Hull told the L.A. Times on Wednesday. There, the molasses has displaced the oxygen-containing seawater that thousands of marine organisms rely on to breathe.

Read more. [Image: Elizabeth Miles]

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