CHAPTER 263
HARBORS AND RIVERS

Table of Contents

Sec. 15-7. Jurisdiction, powers and duties of Bridgeport harbor master. Approval of harbor works. Appeal. Penalty.
Sec. 15-11a. (Formerly Sec. 15-31). Removal and taking of derelict vessels.
Sec. 15-13c. Connecticut Pilot Commission. Members. Appointments. Duties.

      Sec. 15-7. Jurisdiction, powers and duties of Bridgeport harbor master. Approval of harbor works. Appeal. Penalty. (a) The harbor master shall have the general care and supervision of Bridgeport Harbor and its tidewaters and its rivers and of all the flats and lands flowed thereby, and all other tidewaters, flats and rivers which are within the city limits of said city but are not adjacent to said harbor in order to limit, prevent and abate sources of water pollution, to prevent or remove any unauthorized encroachment and other obstruction which is likely to interfere with the full navigation of said harbor, or in any way injure its channels or cause any reduction in its tidewaters, or prevent, abate or remove any unauthorized landfills upon or affecting the tidewaters located within the city limits of Bridgeport. The harbor master shall exercise his responsibility in a manner consistent with any harbor management plan for the Bridgeport Harbor adopted pursuant to section 22a-113m.

      (b) Each person who contemplates the building over said harbor and tidewaters of any bridge, wharf, pier dam or bulkheads, or the dredging or filling in of any flats or tidewaters, or the driving or placement of any piles, dolphins or bumpers below high-water mark shall, before beginning such work, give written notice upon forms provided by said master of his intention to do such work to the Commissioner of Transportation and to said harbor master and shall submit plans or drawings of any proposed wharf or any other structure, and of the flats to be dredged or filled, and of the mode in which the work is to be performed; and no such work shall be commenced until the plan or drawing and the mode of performing the same is approved in writing by the commissioner. The commissioner may reject or alter such plans at his discretion and prescribe the direction, limits and mode of building of the wharf and other structures, and all such works shall be executed under the supervision of the commissioner and the harbor master.

      (c) Any erection made or work done in any manner not sanctioned by said commissioner, when his direction is required as hereinbefore provided, shall be deemed a public nuisance. Said commissioner may order suits in the name of the city and prevent or stop or abate, by injunction or otherwise, any such erection or other nuisance and such suits shall be conducted by and at the expense of the city of Bridgeport.

      (d) Any person aggrieved by any action taken or order issued by said commissioner under authority of this section may within thirty days appeal to the superior court for the judicial district of Fairfield and said court shall take such action in the premises as equity may require.

      (e) Any person who violates or assists in violating any of the provisions of subsection (b) of this section or any direction or order of the commissioner made pursuant thereto shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than ninety days, or both.

      (1949 Rev., S. 4748; 1969, P.A. 482; 768, S. 156; P.A. 76-436, S. 415, 681; P.A. 78-280, S. 7, 127; P.A. 84-247, S. 12; P.A. 07-217, S. 55.)

      History: 1969 acts amended Subsec. (a) to give harbor master jurisdiction over rivers and over all other waterways in city limits but not adjacent to harbor to control water pollution and authorized him to take action re unauthorized land fills, clarified Subsec. (b) and added references to bulkheads, dredging, dolphins and bumpers, removed phrase "within the tidewaters flowing into or through said harbor" in Subsec. (c) thereby extending harbor master's authority, placed 30-day limit on appeals in Subsec. (d), increased fine from $200 to $1,000 and imprisonment from 60 to 90 days in Subsec. (e) and replaced "harbor master" with "commissioner" throughout section except that notice required to be given to both and supervision of works to be by both; P.A. 76-436 replaced court of common pleas with superior court in Subsec. (d), effective July 1, 1978; P.A. 78-280 replaced county of Fairfield with judicial district of Fairfield in Subsec. (d); P.A. 84-247 amended Subsec. (a) by requiring the harbor master to exercise his responsibility consistent with the harbor management plan; P.A. 07-217 made a technical change in Subsec. (e), effective July 12, 2007.

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      Sec. 15-11a. (Formerly Sec. 15-31). Removal and taking of derelict vessels. (a) A duly authorized harbor master shall determine whether a vessel is a derelict vessel. Upon such determination, the Commissioner of Transportation, such harbor master or a duly authorized representative of a municipality may cause such derelict vessel to be removed at the expense of any owner, agent or operator of such derelict vessel and may recover the expense of such removal, together with the costs and expenses incident to such removal, including legal expenses and court costs incurred in such recovery, from the owner, agent or operator of such vessel in an action founded upon this section. The last owner of record of such vessel shall be responsible for such vessel. After consultation with the Commissioner of Transportation, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection may consider any such vessel to be an encroachment subject to the provisions of sections 22a-359 to 22a-363f, inclusive.

      (b) Prior to removing and taking such derelict vessel into custody, the Commissioner of Transportation, a duly authorized harbor master or a duly authorized representative of a municipality shall make a reasonable attempt to notify the owner, agent or operator of the vessel and shall allow such owner, agent or operator to make arrangements for removal of the vessel. Such notification shall inform the owner, agent or operator that, pursuant to this section, if the vessel is not removed within twenty-four hours of notification, it shall be removed, taken into custody and stored at the owner's, agent's or operator's expense.

      (c) Prior to removing a derelict vessel, the Commissioner of Transportation, a duly authorized harbor master or a duly authorized representative of a municipality shall affix to such vessel a readily visible notification sticker. The notification sticker shall contain the following information: (1) The date and time the notification sticker was affixed to the vessel, (2) a statement that, pursuant to this section, if the vessel is not removed within twenty-four hours of the time the sticker was affixed, it shall be taken into custody and stored at the owner's expense, (3) the location and telephone number where additional information may be obtained, and (4) the identity of the person who affixed the sticker.

      (d) If the derelict vessel is not removed by the owner, agent or operator within the time period provided in subsection (c) of this section, the Commissioner of Transportation, a duly authorized harbor master or a duly authorized representative of a municipality may direct that such vessel be removed and taken into custody and may cause the same to be stored in a suitable place.

      (e) If a derelict vessel is removed and taken into custody pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, the Commissioner of Transportation, a duly authorized harbor master or a duly authorized representative of a municipality shall give written notice, by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner, agent or operator of such vessel, if known, which notice shall state: (1) The vessel has been removed, taken into custody and stored, (2) the location from which the vessel was removed, and (3) that the vessel may be disposed of after fifteen days if the market value of such vessel, as determined by a certified marine surveyor, does not exceed two thousand dollars or that the vessel may be sold after ninety days, pursuant to the provisions of subsection (f) of this section.

      (f) Ninety days or more after written notice has been given pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, the Commissioner of Transportation, a duly authorized harbor master or a duly authorized representative of a municipality may sell a derelict vessel at public auction in accordance with the provisions of this section. The commissioner, harbor master or authorized agent of a municipality shall apply the proceeds of such sale toward the payment of its charges, any storage charges and the payment of any debt or obligation incurred by the commissioner, harbor master or agent who placed the vessel in storage. Such sale shall be advertised twice in a newspaper published or having a circulation in the town where such vessel is stored or is located, commencing at least five days before such sale; and, if the last place of abode of the owner, agent or operator of such vessel is known to or ascertained by the commissioner, harbor master or agent by the exercise of reasonable diligence, notice of the time and place of sale shall be given to such owner, agent or operator by sending such notice to the owner, agent or operator, by certified mail, return receipt requested, at such last place of abode at least five days before the day of the sale. The proceeds of such sale, after deducting any amount due for removal and storage charges and all expenses connected with such sale, shall be paid to the owner, agent or operator of such vessel or the owner's, agent's or operator's legal representatives, if claimed by the owner, agent or operator or the owner's, agent's or operator's legal representative at any time within one year from the date of such sale. If such balance is not claimed within said period, it shall escheat to the municipality from which the vessel was removed. If the expenses incurred by the commissioner, harbor master or agent for such removal and storage and sale of such vessel and any fines exceed the proceeds of such sale, the owner, agent or operator of the vessel shall be liable for such excess expenses.

      (g) The Commissioner of Transportation may require the owner, agent or operator to furnish a performance bond in an amount sufficient to cover the estimated costs of removal as determined by the commissioner.

      (1949 Rev., S. 4779; 1969, P.A. 768, S. 160; P.A. 75-288, S. 1, 2; P.A. 76-277; P.A. 82-191, S. 1; P.A. 98-182, S. 15, 22; P.A. 06-121, S. 2; P.A. 07-232, S. 2, 3.)

      History: 1969 act replaced commissioners of steamship terminals with commissioner of transportation; P.A. 75-288 included agents and operators in provisions; P.A. 76-277 added provisions re removal of vessels, scows, lighters etc. and added Subsec. (b) re permit fees and performance bonds; Sec. 15-31 transferred to Sec. 15-11a in 1979; P.A. 82-191 amended Subsec. (a) to authorize the commissioner of environmental protection, upon consultation with the commissioner of transportation, to consider vessels or similar floating structures to be an encroachment requiring a permit; P.A. 98-182 deleted the requirement for an owner, agent or operator to obtain a permit, effective July 1, 1998; P.A. 06-121 amended Subsec. (a) to allow a harbor master to determine whether a vessel is a derelict vessel, to expand the list of who may remove such vessel and to make the last owner of record responsible for such vessel, added new Subsecs. (b) to (f) re required procedure and redesignated existing Subsec. (b) as Subsec. (g), effective June 2, 2006; P.A. 07-232 made technical changes in Subsecs. (b) and (f), effective July 11, 2007.

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      Sec. 15-13c. Connecticut Pilot Commission. Members. Appointments. Duties. (a) There is created within the Department of Transportation, for administrative purposes only, the Connecticut Pilot Commission to assist and advise the Commissioner of Transportation on matters relating to the licensure of pilots, the safe conduct of vessels and the protection of the ports and waters of the state, including the waters of Long Island Sound.

      (b) The commission shall consist of nine members, one of whom shall be the Commissioner of Transportation or the commissioner's designee and one of whom shall be an active licensed pilot in this state operating on the Connecticut side of the rotation system for the assignment of pilots. The pilot member shall be designated by a simple majority vote of pilots operating on the Connecticut side of the rotation system for the assignment of pilots. The remaining seven members shall be appointed as follows: The Governor shall appoint one member representing a maritime-related industry, which industry shall not include a recreational industry; the president pro tempore of the Senate shall appoint one member representing the public with an interest in the environment who does not have an economic interest in the subject matters of the commission; the majority leader of the Senate shall appoint one member representing the public with an interest in the environment who does not have an economic interest in the subject matters of the commission; the minority leader of the Senate shall appoint one member who shall be a retired ship's master or captain; the speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint one member representing a maritime-related industry, which industry shall not include a recreational industry; the majority leader of the House of Representatives shall appoint one member representing a maritime-related industry from a shipping agent perspective; the minority leader of the House of Representatives shall appoint one member with an expertise in the area of admiralty law. Each member shall be a resident of the state, provided no member shall be an active licensed pilot, except the one active Connecticut licensed pilot operating in and designated by a simple majority of pilots operating on the Connecticut side of the rotation system for the assignment of pilots. Members shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

      (c) On or before July 1, 1992, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b) of this section (1) the Governor, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the majority leader of the Senate shall each appoint one member who shall serve until July 1, 1996; (2) the president pro tempore of the Senate, the majority leader of the House of Representatives and the minority leader of the House of Representatives shall each appoint one member who shall serve until July 1, 1995; and (3) the minority leader of the Senate shall appoint one member who shall serve until July 1, 1994. Thereafter, members shall serve for a term of four years and any vacancies on the commission shall be filled for the remainder of the term in the same manner as the original appointment.

      (d) The Governor shall appoint the chairperson of the commission who shall not be an employee of the Department of Transportation. The commission shall elect a vice-chairperson and any other officers that it deems necessary from among its membership. The powers of the commission shall be vested in and exercised by not less than five members serving on the commission. This number shall constitute a quorum and the affirmative vote of five members present at a meeting of the commission shall be necessary for any action taken by the commission.

      (e) The commission shall, subject to the approval of the commissioner in his sole discretion, set: (1) The required qualifications of pilots for eligibility for licensure, including background, training, length of service and apprenticeship; (2) examination requirements for obtaining a pilot's or other type of operating license; and (3) the appropriate number of state-licensed pilots necessary for the safe, efficient and proper operations in the ports and waters of the state, including the waters of Long Island Sound. In setting these requirements, the commission may not consider the licenses of pilots by other jurisdictions as a disqualifying factor.

      (f) The commission shall advise the commissioner on (1) the establishment of fair and reasonable rates of pilotage, pursuant to section 15-14, including establishment of a hearing process for the setting of fair and reasonable rates of pilotage and licensure fees; (2) the policy of the state on the establishment of a rotation system for the assignment of pilots; (3) the policy of the state on the issuance of reciprocal licenses to pilots licensed in other states; (4) the enhancement of safety and protection of the marine environment during the operation of vessels and the prevention of oil spills and other marine incidents; (5) the proper equipment required on a vessel and the operation of vessels used by pilots for embarkation and disembarkation; (6) the designation of pilot boarding stations; (7) the proper safety equipment provided by vessels to enable pilots to safely board vessels; (8) the state's policy relative to matters of interstate pilotage; and (9) any other matter requested by the commissioner.

      (g) The commission shall: (1) Assist in the preparation of examinations for pilot licensure and other operating certificates; (2) evaluate the examination results of applicants for a pilot license and make appropriate recommendations concerning such applicants' qualifications; (3) assist in the review and monitoring of the performance of pilots, including compliance with state policies, procedures and regulations; (4) review applications for reciprocal licensure and make appropriate recommendations concerning such pilots' qualifications; (5) recommend the duties of pilots for the reporting of faulty pilot boarding and disembarkation systems and of violations of any state laws; (6) review and investigate any marine incident or casualty and conduct hearings to determine the causes of any such incident; (7) investigate and make recommendations on disciplinary measures, including such measures as letters of caution, admonition or reprimand and licensure suspension or forfeiture, including disciplinary matters relative to alcohol or drug abuse; (8) retain an independent investigator to compile a comprehensive factual record of any marine incident or casualty; (9) assist in the review of complaints filed with the commissioner; and (10) assist in the preparation of any report or matter relative to pilotage.

      (h) Nothing in this section shall supersede the authority of the commissioner with respect to licensing marine pilots as specified in section 15-13.

      (P.A. 92-178, S. 1, 3; P.A. 94-188, S. 18, 30; P.A. 06-133, S. 2; P.A. 07-232, S. 4, 5.)

      History: P.A. 94-188 revised effective date of P.A. 92-178 but without affecting this section; P.A. 06-133 amended Subsec. (a) to charge commission with assisting Commissioner of Transportation, amended Subsec. (b) to change the number of members from seven to nine, to designate commissioner and an active licensed pilot as members, to specify that members appointed by president pro tempore and majority leader of the Senate cannot have economic interests in the subject matters of commission, to specify that member appointed by majority leader of the House of Representatives represent a maritime-related industry from a shipping agent perspective and to provide that ban on active licensed pilots being members does not apply to the one active licensed pilot elected to membership, amended Subsec. (d) to change number of members constituting a quorum from three to five, amended Subsec. (e) to change commission's charge from advising commissioner to "subject to the approval of the commissioner in his sole discretion, set" the listed standards and to add Subdiv. (4), designated part of Subsec. (e) as Subsec. (f) re areas in which commission shall "advise" commissioner and redesignated existing Subdivs. (4) to (12) as Subdivs. (1) to (9), redesignated existing Subsec. (f) as Subsec. (g), amending same to identify commission's duties, to eliminate requirement to act at commissioner's request, to add "including compliance with state policies, procedures and regulations" in Subdiv. (3) and to add "investigate" in Subdiv. (7), and added Subsec. (h) re commissioner's licensing authority, effective June 6, 2006; P.A. 07-232 made technical changes in Subsecs. (e) and (g), effective July 11, 2007.

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