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.
"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.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
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