Fireworks seizure shines spotlight on cargo screening at Hawaii ports

A shipment of illegal fireworks was recently intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard at Honolulu Harbor as part of a multi-agency strike force.
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 7:40 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 3, 2022 at 8:26 AM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A shipment of illegal fireworks was recently intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard at Honolulu Harbor as part of a multi-agency strike force.

Nearly 13,500 pounds of illegal fireworks valued at $2.7 million were discovered, officials said.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett Reel is a container inspector for the U.S. Coast Guard sector Honolulu and one of 75 inspectors that are working with shipping companies to check cargo containers in ports across the islands.

Reel was on the team that discovered the illegal fireworks.

”That was actually brought to our attention by the shipping company. They asked us to come in and take a look at that container, we opened the container and discovered the fireworks inside. From there we launched an investigation and eventually detained the container,” Reel said.

Coast Guard inspectors are working with several federal and state agencies to conduct a Multi-Agency Strike Force Operation to increase port security.

”The Coast Guard regularly examines containers as they enter port to ensure the cargoes are shipped safely and legally, but a MASFO takes things to another level,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Evan Treanor, the container inspector assigned to the Coast Guard’s Sector Honolulu who organized the operation.

In 2020, more than 1.54 million shipping containers came into Hawaii ports.

Data from the Department of Transportation shows that around 80% of what we use in Hawaii is imported and around 96% of that comes through the state’s port system.

The Coast Guard is working with other partner agencies like Customs and Boarder Patrol to screen shipments and enforce state and federal laws.