HONOLULU (KHON2) — The U.S. Coast Guard confiscated nearly three million dollars worth of unpermitted fireworks at Honolulu Harbor. Some Hawaii residents are hoping that more seizures are made for a quieter holiday season.
The Coast Guard said it seized a shipping container with more than 13,000 pounds of fireworks with an estimated street value of $2.7 million. Officials said one of the shipping companies tipped off investigators about the shipment.
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“They asked us to come out and take a look at the container. I’m not sure what they saw but they wanted us to take a look at it. So we opened the container and that’s when we discovered the fireworks were inside,” said Petty Officer Brett Reel.
He said most of it was high-end aerial fireworks. They were sent back to the mainland and destroyed in an appropriate disposal facility.
The U.S. Coast Guard does regular inspections of containers coming through the ports. Reel said this last shipment of illegal fireworks was the largest he’s ever seen.
“This is a big one for the community, for the safety of the port. We are welcomed into the community here and we feel honored to be able to help the community by keeping them safe and keeping this stuff out of our communities,” said Reel.
With so much cargo coming in daily, Reel pointed out the inspections are done through a multi-agency task force that includes federal, state, and county agencies. Officials said this is the time of the year to be vigilant about illegal fireworks.
“As we get closer to the end of the year, you’re right, there are going to be more and more instances of this and it’s important that obviously, Coast Guard takes the lead — for us as Department of Transportation, it’s our harbor police that participates in this multi-agency task force, if you will,” said Jai Cunningham, spokesman for the Hawaii DOT.
Residents said the latest haul is a good start. Illegal fireworks are already being fired off and are a common complaint at many neighborhood board meetings on Oahu, especially from pet owners.
“Not only our animals, it would be the kupuna, it would be our veterans with the PTSD and stuff. I have a lot of friends who served, they would have flashbacks of back when they were in Iraq and stuff,” said Mitchell Tynanes, chairman of the Ewa Neighborhood Board.
He said keeping the aerial fireworks out should be a priority.
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“If we could stop that in the residential areas, I think it would help a lot,” he said.