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Ghost Boat Bill Passes the Legislature

HB 131 expands state authority to deal with abandoned & derelict vessels

Friday, April 12, 2013, Juneau, Alaska – The 28th Alaska Legislature today voted to send a bill to the Governor expanding the State’s legal authority to deal with the problem of derelict and abandoned vessels in Alaska waters.

House Bill 131, sponsored by Representative Paul Seaton, would provide state agencies and municipalities with authority in statute to address the “ghost boats.” Current state law puts the primary duty to handle derelict vessels on the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

“Ghost boats are a growing problem,” Seaton, R-Homer, said. “Municipalities have the bulk of the responsibility to deal with them since the State instituted its program to hand ports and harbors back to local governments. The municipalities, unfortunately, don’t have the express authority to deal with the vessels under the current law. House Bill 131 fixes that.”

HB 131 primarily broadens state law to allow a multi-agency approach.  The bill also makes changes to law relating to timelines for removal of hazardous materials.  Other sections deal with storage, abandonment and auction.

HB 131 passed the House April 5 and now heads to the Governor for signature. It takes effect 90 days from signature.

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