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Justice Opens 30-Day Public Comment Period on Proposed Settlement for Natural Resource Damages from February 2005 Ship Grounding Offshore Barbers Point, Oahu, Hawaii


01/08/2013


MV Cape Flattery at anchor offshore Barbers Point, Oahu, Hawaii The M/V Cape Flattery, a 555-foot long cargo ship carrying pelletized cement, shown here in February 2005, anchored at sea offshore Barbers Point on the southwestern shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The grounding of the ship on February 2, 2005 and subsequent response activities injured nearly 20 acres of coral reef habitat. Photo credit: U.S. Coast Guard.

 

On January 8, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice opened a 30-day public comment period on a proposed settlement for natural resource damages with two parties arising from the February 2, 2005, grounding of the cargo ship M/V Cape Flattery near the entrance to Barbers Point Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The proposed settlement is embodied in a Consent Decree that was lodged with the U.S District Court for the Division of Hawaii on December 21, 2012.

The natural resource trustees in this case include:

  • State of Hawaii, represented by Hawaii Department of Health and Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources;
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, represented by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and,
  • U.S. Department of the Interior, represented by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The M/V Cape Flattery is a 555-foot long, foreign-flagged cargo ship. On the early morning of February 2, 2005, the M/V Cape Flattery ran aground on coral reef habitat outside the entrance channel to Barbers Point Harbor on the southwestern coast of the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The ship was carrying approximately 9 metric tons of bulk pelletized cement and 147,000 gallons of fuel oil. Over the next nine days, the ship’s fuel was lightered, the cargo was offloaded and on February 11, the ship was refloated and towed from the reef.

Coral reef habitats and associated resources were physically injured as a result of ship stabilization and response activities. The trustees determined that six marine habitat zones -- including 19.5 acres of coral -- were injured.

Under the proposed settlement in the lodged Consent Decree, the settling parties will:

  • Pay $5,881,180.00 for the design, implementation, permitting, monitoring and oversight of natural resource restoration projects for coral reef habitat and associated resources according to a Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan to be prepared by the natural resource trustees;
  • Pay $1,524,137.00 to NOAA for past assessment costs; 
  • Pay $56,679.00 to DOI for past assessment costs; and,
  • Pay $38,004.00 to State of Hawaii for past assessment costs.

The total value of the proposed monetary settlement is $7,500,000.00.

Written comments on the proposed Consent Decree must be received by the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division in Washington, DC, by Thursday, February 7, 2013.

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