An environmental cleanup crew looks for dead marine life in Keehi Lagoon near Honolulu Harbor.
The molasses spilled from a pipeline on a Matson cargo ship used to load the syrup from storage tanks to ships sailing to California.
Hawaii’s Health Department assigned crews to haul away dead marine life, but plans to let the molasses naturally dissipate with the tides and currents. The brown plume in the water is expected to remain visible for weeks and the effects in the harbor will be long-lasting, said marine biologists.
Health officials warned swimmers, surfers, and snorkelers in Hawaii to stay out of the waters near Honolulu after the leak of molasses killed hundreds of fish, potentially attracting sharks.
An eel that washed ashore tries to get back to the water in Keehi Lagoon.
An environmental cleanup crew member holds a bag of dead marine life in Keehi Lagoon.
Dead puffer fish and other marine life are collected in this barrel on the dock fronting Keehi Lagoon. The fish are dying off in large numbers, because the molasses make it difficult for them to breathe.
An environmental cleanup crew scoops a dead eel out of Keehi Lagoon.
“This is the worst environmental damage to sea life that I have come across, and its fair to say this is a biggie, if not the biggest that we’ve had to confront in the state of Hawaii,” said Gary Gill, deputy director for the Environmental Health Division of the Health Department.
“The smell is horrible.”
A dead hammerhead spotted at Keehi Lagoon.