Spilled Coolant from Okinawa Orion Beer Factory Turns Sea Red

Courtesy photo
The sea near Nago fishing port in Okinawa Prefecture turns red due to a coolant spill from an Orion Breweries Ltd. factory in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, on Tuesday.

NAHA — Spilled coolant from an Orion Breweries Ltd. factory in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, has turned the sea red around the city’s fishing port, according to the Okinawa prefectural police.

The police received a report from a resident at 5:35 a.m. on Tuesday saying that red liquid was flowing from the river into the sea at Nago fishing port.

Police and the Nago Coast Guard Office confirmed that the Koji River and the sea around the fishing port had turned red, and determined that the anomaly was caused by spilled coolant from the beer factory, located about 700 meters upstream from the fishing port.

The coolant is harmless to humans and will not affect the marine environment, according to the company.

The leak was from coolant for beer tanks that contained the food additive propylene glycol, the company and other sources said.

The additive was dyed red with food coloring to serve as a marker in the event of a leak. After plant officials repaired parts that may have caused the leak, the spill was stopped at 9:30 a.m., but the river and ocean were still red by Tuesday evening.

The company said it plans to take measures such as installing sensors to detect spills in the future.