Chapter 8.25
ABANDONED AND DERELICT VESSELS

Sections:

8.25.010    Purpose.

8.25.020    Definitions.

8.25.030    Abandoned vessels.

8.25.040    Notice of abandoned vessel.

8.25.050    Derelict vessels.

8.25.060    Abandonment of marine or associated marine structures.

8.25.070    Obstructions.

8.25.080    Other nuisances.

8.25.090    Public auction.

8.25.100    Derelict vessel disposal.

8.25.110    Disposition of certain abandoned vessels.

8.25.120    General penalty for violations.

8.25.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to address abandoned and derelict vessels in areas of the borough outside of the cities of Ketchikan and Saxman, and it is construed as consistent with AS 30.30.010 through 30.30.100. [Ord. No. 1556, §1, 3-15-10. Code 1974 §29.35.005.]

8.25.020 Definitions.

“Abandoned vessel” means any not currently registered or documented watercraft that has been moored, stranded, wrecked, or is in a substantially dismantled condition. (A vessel is presumed to be abandoned if the last registered or documented owner disclaims ownership, or the owner cannot be determined, or if the vessel registration numbers have expired or other identification has been obliterated, or removed in the manner that precludes identification of the owner.)

Derelict Vessel. A vessel that has been left unattended for a continuous period of more than twenty-four (24) hours is a derelict if:

(1)    The vessel is sunk or in immediate danger of sinking, is obstructing a waterway, is endangering life or property, or is in danger of creating an environmental hazard;

(2)    The vessel has been removed from any harbor system in the state of Alaska by the harbormaster of that system for being derelict or unseaworthy or which is maintained in such condition or in such manner as to render it subject to sinking for lack of being pumped or other maintenance, or which has insufficient motor or sail power to permit the boat to be maneuvered and controlled safely under wind and water conditions which are not unusual and which do not constitute a hazard to craft, or is maintained in such condition or in such manner as to constitute a fire, health, safety or navigation hazard; or

(3)    The vessel has been moored or otherwise left in the waters of the borough without permission or on public property contrary to law or regulations, or the vessel has been left on private property without authorization of the owner or occupant of the property and either the owner of the property reports that it is trespassing or one (1) or more of the following conditions is present:

a.    The vessel’s certificate of number or marine document has expired and the registered owner no longer resides at the address listed in the vessel registration or marine document records of the state or the United States Coast Guard;

b.    The last registered owner of record disclaims ownership and the current owner’s name or address cannot be determined;

c.    The vessel identification numbers and other means of identification have been obliterated or removed in a manner that nullifies or precludes efforts to locate or identify the owner; or

d.    The vessel registration records of the state and the marine document records of the United States Coast Guard contain no record that the vessel ever has been registered or documented and the owner’s name or address cannot be determined.

“Marine structure” or “associated marine structures” means objects not registered by the state of Alaska such as floats, finger floats, docks, piers or any structure associated with facilitating the movement of people and material to and from a vessel.

“Obstruction(s)” means any boat or manmade structure which has been grounded, delayed, or disabled in such a manner as to stop, obstruct, interfere with, endanger or impede navigation, moored vessels, marine traffic or which otherwise interferes with the normal public use of borough lands and waters.

“Other nuisances” means refuse of any kind, structures, or pieces of any structure, dock sweepings, timber, logs, log rafts, lumber boxes, paint, empty containers, and oil of any kind, floating uncontrolled on the waters of the borough.

“Vessel seaworthiness” means a state of readiness and safety which all vessels moored or docked or anchored must meet, including being capable of getting underway under its own power at all times and be a watercraft constructed and maintained for the primary purpose of navigating the waterways. This does not apply to marine vessels designed to be towed or pushed by tug boats such as barges.

“Vessel trespass” means a vessel which is moored, sunken or which otherwise remains on the property of another without consent of the owner, which includes the waters covering patented tidelands or a surveyed tidelands lease.

“Waters of the borough” means: (1) patented tidelands; (2) surveyed tidelands; (3) tidelands leased by or managed by the borough; and (4) the intertidal zone of any public or private property within the borough. [Ord. No. 1556, §1, 3-15-10. Code 1974 §29.35.010.]

8.25.030 Abandoned vessels.

(a)    The borough assembly declares that abandoned vessels are a public nuisance and must be disposed of as solid waste in accordance with this title.

(b)    Violations.

(1)    No vessel may trespass upon the lands or the waters, patented tidelands, or surveyed tideland lease areas of the borough.

(2)    A person may not store or leave a vessel in a wrecked, derelict, or substantially dismantled condition or abandoned in a location specified in subsection (b)(1) of this section, or at a port or harbor, in the borough without the consent of the agency having jurisdiction of the water, port, or harbor. A person may not store or leave a vessel in a wrecked, derelict, or substantially dismantled condition or abandoned upon or docked at any private property without the consent of the owner of the property, which includes patented tidelands or surveyed tideland leases.

(3)    The borough may remove an abandoned vessel from public water in any instance when the vessel obstructs or threatens to obstruct navigation, contributes to air or water pollution by discharging oils, acids, or petroleum fuels, or in any other way constitutes a danger by placing hazardous materials into the environment.

(4)    Any person who places a vessel in a location specified in subsection (b)(2) of this section and any person who abandons a vessel in a place specified in subsection (b)(2) of this section is considered responsible for the abandonment of the vessel, and is, along with the registered owner of the vessel, jointly and severally liable for the costs of its removal and disposition.

(5)    In addition to parties liable and responsible as provided in subsection (b)(4) of this section, the lawful owner of a vessel, as shown by borough records, State records, or U.S. Coast Guard records, is considered responsible for the abandonment of the vessel and is liable for the cost of removal and disposition of the abandoned vessel unless:

a.    The vessel is registered with the State, or the U.S. Coast Guard if the vessel is a documented vessel, and the vessel was abandoned by a person using the vessel without the permission of the owner, and the vessel had previously been reported stolen to the Alaska State Troopers; or

b.    The identity of the person abandoning the vessel is established, and the abandonment was without the consent of the owner. [Ord. No. 1556, §1, 3-15-10. Code 1974 §29.35.020.]

8.25.040 Notice of abandoned vessel.

When an abandoned vessel is observed or reported:

(a)    On receiving a report of, or upon observance of an abandoned vessel, the borough manager or his or her designee shall provide notice as follows:

(1)    Post a written notice on the vessel when possible;

(2)    A separate notice or a duplicate of that notice shall be sent by certified mail, with a return receipt, to the registered owner of the vessel at the registered owner’s last known address as shown on the records of the borough, or a State or federal agency;

(3)    The notice must contain a brief description of the vessel and the intended disposition of the vessel if not removed within 20 days after the mailing of the notice.

(b)    A notice need not be sent to the purported owner or any other person whose interest in the vessel is not recorded with the borough, a State department, a federal agency, or a publicly available database. [Ord. No. 1556, §1, 3-15-10. Code 1974 §29.35.025.]

8.25.050 Derelict vessels.

The borough assembly declares that derelict vessels are a public nuisance, a hazard to navigation and an interference with the normal public use of borough lands and waters. [Ord. No. 1556, §1, 3-15-10. Code 1974 §29.35.030.]

8.25.060 Abandonment of marine or associated marine structures.

No abandoned or derelict marine structures, or associated marine structures, shall be allowed in or upon navigable waters of the borough or on its lands and shores. [Ord. No. 1556, §1, 3-15-10. Code 1974 §29.35.040.]

8.25.070 Obstructions.

No person may leave a vessel anyplace where it is an obstruction, or place marine or marine associated objects on borough property. Any such obstructions, marine or marine associated structures floated on or placed on borough property shall be removed immediately. [Ord. No. 1556, §1, 3-15-10. Code 1974 §29.35.050.]

8.25.080 Other nuisances.

No structures, construction material or other nuisances may be deposited in the waters of the borough or deposited upon the lands and shores of the borough. [Ord. No. 1556, §1, 3-15-10. Code 1974 §29.35.060.]

8.25.090 Public auction.

(a)    If the vessel is not repossessed within 20 days after the mailing of the notice, the vessel shall be disposed of by public auction, through oral tenders, or by sealed bids, after public advertisement has been made once in a newspaper of general circulation. However, the public auction may not be held less than five days after the publication of the advertisement. The owner of the vessel may, at any time prior to the date of sale and upon payment of any fees for towing, handling, storage, appraisal, advertising, harbor use, or any other fees and costs that have been incurred, retake possession of the vessel. If no bid is received, the vessel may be sold by negotiation, disposed of as junk, donated to a governmental agency, or destroyed.

(b)    Public auction is not required when the appraised value of an abandoned vessel, as determined by an independent appraiser, is less than $100. The appraiser must have at least one year of experience in the sale, purchase, or appraisal of vessels. Upon that determination and after public advertisement has been made once in a newspaper of general circulation, the borough may sell the vessel by negotiation, dispose of it as junk, donate the vessel to a government agency, or destroy it. [Ord. No. 1682, §1, 9-3-13; Ord. No. 1556, §1, 3-15-10. Code 1974 §29.35.070.]

8.25.100 Derelict vessel disposal.

(a)    A derelict vessel or a vessel which is both derelict and abandoned may be taken into custody and disposed of under this section in situations where a vessel is in danger of sinking or sunken, obstructs or threatens to obstruct navigation, contributes to air or water pollution, or in any other way constitutes a danger or potential danger to the environment or public health.

(1)    The borough may take or cause a derelict vessel to be taken into custody immediately.

(2)    Upon taking custody of a derelict vessel the borough shall concurrently:

a.    Publish a notice of intended disposition once in a newspaper of general circulation;

b.    When possible, post a notice of intended disposition on the vessel; and

c.    Serve a duplicate of the notice of intended disposition by certified mail, with a return receipt, on:

1.    The registered owner of the vessel, if known, at the registered owner’s last known address or the address on record with the borough, a State department, or the United States Coast Guard; and

2.    All lienholders who have filed a financing statement indexed in the name of the registered owner, or who are shown on the records of a State department or the United States Coast Guard.

(b)    If the vessel is not repossessed within 20 days after the publication or mailing of the notice, whichever occurs later, the vessel may be disposed of by negotiated sale except that when two or more prospective purchasers indicate an interest in purchasing the vessel, the vessel will be sold at public auction to the highest bidder. Provided, that the owner of the vessel may, at any time prior to the date of sale or other disposal and upon payment of any fees for towing, handling, storage, appraisal, advertising, harbor use, or any other fees and costs that have been incurred, retake possession of the vessel.

(c)    If no prospective purchaser indicates a desire to purchase the vessel, the vessel may be disposed of as junk, donated to a governmental agency, or destroyed. [Ord. No. 1682, §2, 9-3-13; Ord. No. 1556, §1, 3-15-10. Code 1974 §29.35.080.]

8.25.110 Disposition of certain abandoned vessels.

A vessel that has been left unattended for a continuous period of more than 30 days and is in the waters of the borough or on public property, or has been placed on private property without authorization of the owner or occupant of the property, may be taken into custody by the borough and disposed of by the borough under this chapter. This section does not apply to what has become the custom, common or accepted practice to anchor, moor, or otherwise leave a vessel in the waters of the State of Alaska in such a manner that it does not threaten or obstruct navigation, or to store for a period of more than 30 days, for seaworthy vessels such as barges, leaving of the vessel does not constitute abandonment of the vessel. [Ord. No. 1556, §1, 3-15-10. Code 1974 §29.35.090.]

8.25.120 General penalty for violations.

The penalty for violation of this chapter shall be a fine of up to $300. Each day of the violation shall be a separate violation subject to an additional penalty. In addition, costs incurred by the borough to provide notice, safekeeping and for disposal of a derelict or abandoned vessel may be recoverable as restitution in connection with a conviction for a violation of the section. [Ord. No. 1705, §5, 3-3-14; Ord. No. 1556, §1, 3-15-10. Code 1974 §29.35.100.]