Trustees Settle Natural Resource Damage Claims Arising from February 2005 Cargo Ship Grounding Offshore Barbers Point, Oahu, Hawaii

Last edited 09/25/2020


Corals dislodged and broken by the grounding of the cargo ship M/V Cape Flattery at Barbers Point, Oahu, Hawaii, have been reattached with cement to the damaged reef, shown here in March 2005, in an emergency restoration action. Photo credit: Steve Kolinski, NOAA/PIRO.

On March 27, 2013, the federal and State natural resource trustees settled natural resource damage claims 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. This settlement with two parties -- Cape Flattery Limited and Pacific Basin (HK) Limited -- is embodied in a Consent Decree that was entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii .

The natural resource trustees in this case include:

  • State of Hawaii, represented by Hawaii Department of Lands and Natural Resources, Hawaii Department of Health and Hawaii Department of the Attorney General;
  • 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 settlement in the entered 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 monetary settlement is $7,500,000.00.

The trustees will next prepare a Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan detailing proposed natural resource restoration actions to be undertaken to restore injured coral reef habitat. This Draft DARP will be made available for public comment.

Further reading:
Consent Decree (entered March 27, 2013)

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