By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER
Associated PressHONOLULU (AP) - A federal judge is allowing a shipping company to pay $600,000 restitution to environmental organizations as part of a sentence for spilling molasses in Honolulu Harbor.
Matson Navigation Co. was sentenced Thursday for criminal charges related to the 233,000-gallon molasses spill that killed more than 26,000 fish and other marine life.
In sentencing the company, U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Puglisi approves the restitution.
Prosecutors and Matson had agreed the company's sentence would be a $400,000 fine and $600,000 in community service payments to Waikiki Aquarium and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii. But when Matson pleaded guilty in October, Puglisi questioned the legality of the $600,000 payment.
Prosecutors then reclassified the community service payment as restitution.
Puglisi says restitution is appropriate because there's a connection between the 2013 spill and the groups' work.