Matson pleads guilty to molasses spill charges - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Matson pleads guilty to molasses spill charges

By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER
Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - A federal magistrate judge is accepting a shipping company's guilty plea to criminal charges from a molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor but isn't approving $600,000 in community service payments.

Matson Navigation Company Senior Vice President and General Counsel Peter Heilmann pleaded guilty on behalf of the company Friday.

The misdemeanor charges are for illegally releasing about 1,400 tons molasses into the harbor last year. The spill killed more than 26,000 fish and other marine life.

Matson and federal prosecutors wanted to proceed immediately with sentencing, as both sides agreed the company would pay a $400,000 fine and $600,000 as community service to environmental organizations.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Puglisi says he has concerns about the community service payment amount and wants to look into whether it's legally allowed.

Related story:

Criminal charges filed against Matson for molasses spill; Company fined $400,000

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