Matson said it, not its customers or Hawaii taxpayers, will cover the costs associated with the Honolulu Harbor molasses spill response.
On Sept. 10, Matson said a leak in a molasses pipeline near Pier 52 that is used to load the sweetener into special tanks in container vessels leaked and that as much as 1,400 tons of molasses or about 233,000 gallons of the liquid may have entered the harbor.
"We operate the pipeline and it is our transfer operation," said Matson President and Chief Executive Officer Matt Cox, at a news conference, held at Pier 34 in Honolulu. "Matson is taking responsibility and we'll continue to fully cooperate with the state on this response. We'll be here as long as it takes to get it right."
Cox announced Matson immediately ceased its molasses operations following the incident and will not resume operations until the company is assured it can do it in a safe and responsible manner.
"Our goal always is to conduct cargo loading operations safely and in an environmentally responsible manner," he said.
He added his pipeline operations team is already working on a report that will provide him with information needed to determine the future of Matson's molasses cargo business.
"If it is determined that the system cannot be operated safely or in an environmentally responsible manner, and that repairing and replacing the system would be impractical, we will discontinue our molasses operations," he said.
Cox said the report would be provided to the state's Department of Health and other agencies once it is complete.
The Coast Guard said on Sunday its national strike force and representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration conducted water sampling as part of a joint effort to analyze the effects of the molasses spill.
They measured depleted oxygen and pH levels at various locations around the harbor that were affected by the spill.
Cox said Matson is "fully cooperating with the state and will continue to cooperate as the response moves forward." - Chris Dupin