Businesses sink in aftermath of molasses spill

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State contracted crews continue to scoop out dead marine life after the massive molasses spill into Honolulu Harbor and Keehi Lagoon, but it’s not fast enough.

“It comes and goes, but it dramatically smells more when the sun goes down it all gets stuff in the mangroves,” La Mariana Restaurant employee Cherry Lao said.

At La Mariana, an area devastated by the sticky mess, the molasses spill is not only killing fish, the restaurant is also taking a hit.

“Normally we are busy Thursday, Friday nights and it’s been really, really slow. We don’t make as much as we usually do,” Lao said.

Even though a week has passed since the spill, some days are better than others.

“Our boss has been trying to maintain the scent by spraying Febreze and stuff like that whatever works right,” Lao said. “We’re hoping our customers will still be true to us and keep coming back.”

While they try to stay afloat, Keehi Lagoon remains closed to commercial and recreational water activities.

The owner of X-Treme Parasail and Jet Ski is also feeling the economic impact. He’s had to cancel all jet ski tours and that has totaled losses of $2,000 a day, and he’s also had to let go three employees.

The small family-run operation is one of two jet ski companies suffering from this spill.

Those who live aboard their boats at Keehi are also uneasy.  They are worried how the molasses may mess with their engines and equipment.

“Engines work on things that have very specific needs, and anytime you tamper with that you will have problems whether you notice it the first day it will be there, these are all fine tuned instruments,” boater Jill Melton said.

Matson says a number of businesses have already called their claims hotline set up for those affected by this spill. The number to call is (808) 848-8300.

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