Assemblyman NELSON T. ALBANO
District 1 (Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland)
Assemblyman MATTHEW W. MILAM
District 1 (Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland)
Assemblyman Wisniewski and Senator Van Drew
Allows MVC to process title transfers of abandoned vessels without court order; lengthens time period required for desertion of vessel to ripen into abandonment.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning sunken or abandoned vessels and amending P.L.1975, c.369.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 3 of P.L.1975, c.369 (C.12:7C-9) is amended to read as follows:
3. a. It shall be unlawful for any owner to abandon any vessel to or upon public land or waters of this State, including any municipal waterway, to or upon any municipally-owned land, or to or upon any private property or the water immediately adjacent thereto without the consent of the official designated by law to have jurisdiction over such public land or waterway, or the owner or other person in charge of the private property except when an emergency exists.
b. (1) A vessel which has remained moored, grounded, docked, or otherwise attached or fastened to or upon any public land or waterway or any private property without such consent for a period of more than [seven] 30 days, or which is submerged partially or completely into the water for any period of time[,] shall be deemed abandoned and may be impounded if an official authorized by statute or ordinance to enforce regulations related to municipal waterways or a law enforcement officer having enforcement authority has reason to believe the vessel has been abandoned.
(2) The vessel may be removed from a municipal waterway by, or at the direction of, the municipality or harbor commission and may be impounded under the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection and removed to a storage space, and its registration certificate and registration plates seized.
(3) The owner shall be responsible for the cost of the removal [and] , transportation, storage [of] or disposal, and any other incidental costs associated with the impounded vessel.
(4) Whenever a vessel is removed pursuant to this subsection, the official designated by law to have jurisdiction over the municipal waterway shall file an incident report with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
c. (1) An owner who violates the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be liable to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000. Each day upon which the violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
(2) The civil penalty
imposed pursuant to this subsection shall be collected pursuant to the
"Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et
seq.), in a summary proceeding.
An official authorized by statute or ordinance to enforce regulations related to municipal waterways or a law enforcement officer having enforcement authority in that municipality may issue a summons for a violation of the provisions of this section and may serve and execute all process with respect to the enforcement of this section consistent with the Rules of Court. A penalty recovered under the provisions of this section shall be recovered by and in the name of the State by the local municipality. The penalty shall be paid into the treasury of the municipality in which the violation occurred for the general uses of the municipality.
(cf: P.L.2008, c.52, s.6)
2. Section 7 of P.L.1975, c.369 (C.12:7C-13) is amended to read as follows:
7. At the end of the 30-day period the person, entity, municipality, or harbor commission desiring to acquire title shall apply to the [court for an order directing the] commission for transfer of title to the vessel. [In the event the order is granted, the person, entity, municipality, or harbor commission shall provide the commission with a copy of the order] The application shall be accompanied by the following affidavits:
a. A statement that the vessel has been abandoned.
b. Proof that the registered letter was mailed at least 30 days before application or a detailed explanation of the unsuccessful steps taken to identify and secure the address of the owner or lienholder, or both.
c. Proof that a notice was printed in a paper as required in section 6 of P.L.1975, c.369 (C.12:7C-12).
(cf: P.L.2008, c.52, s.10)
3. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill removes the requirement that a person, entity, municipality, or harbor commission desiring to acquire title to an abandoned vessel must apply to a court for transfer of title to the vessel. Instead, the person, entity, municipality, or harbor commission shall apply to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for transfer of title to the vessel.
The bill also increases from seven days to 30 days the period of time after which a vessel that has remained moored, grounded, docked, or otherwise attached or fastened to or upon any public land or waterway or any private property may be impounded.
Finally, the bill requires that the owner of an impounded vessel is responsible for the cost of the transportation, disposal, and other incidental costs associated with the impounded vessel.