The Maui News, The Associated Press - On two occasions since last year, state inspectors saw molasses dripping from the same spot where a pipe leaked up to 1,400 tons of the sugary substance into Honolulu Harbor earlier this month and killed thousands of fish.
Department of Transportation Deputy Director Randy Grune said Friday that he sent a letter in July 2012 to Matson Navigation Co. notifying the company of the leak. The letter, provided to reporters Friday, asked Matson to tell the state when the pipeline was repaired.
Vic Angoco, Matson's senior vice president for Pacific operations, said that the company responded by inspecting the pipeline twice--at high and low tide--but didn't see any molasses leaking. The company also didn't see any molasses in the water, he said.
More than 26,000 fish and other marine species in Honolulu Harbor suffocated and died as the molasses spread and sank to the ocean floor about 5 miles west of Waikiki's hotels and beaches. The spill happened in an industrial area of Honolulu Harbor, where Matson loads molasses and other goods for shipping.
Matson has said it will fully pay for cleanup and other costs without passing them on to taxpayers or by raising shipping rates for customers.