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.
Hawaii News Now reported the devastating ecological impact of the spill with an underwater video recording this afternoon. In the words of Roger White, the scuba diver who shot the video, “It was shocking because the entire bottom is covered with dead fish