Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

BALL v. INTEROCEANICA CORP.

November 8, 1994

MICHAEL BALL, C.A. MASSEY, D.J. McINERNEY and T.J. KNIERIM, Plaintiffs,
v.
INTEROCEANICA CORPORATION, TURBANA CORP., M/V POTOMAC, her engines, boilers, tackle, etc., in rem, M/V POCAHONTAS, her engines, boilers, tackle, etc., in rem., and M/V POCANTICO, her engines, boilers, tackle, etc., in rem., Defendants.


Leval


The opinion of the court was delivered by: PIERRE N. LEVAL

Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

 PIERRE N. LEVAL, U.S.C.J.*

 This is an action for pilotage fees covering the westernmost portion of Long Island Sound (the "Western Sound"), explicitly a segment bounded on the east by a line running southeasterly from the mouth of the Byram River at the New York-Connecticut boundary to Oak Neck Point on Long Island ("Byram River line"), and on the west by Execution Rocks and Sands Point. See appendix. *fn1" In 1991, New York State amended Section 89-b of its Navigation Law. The amendment appears to state that only pilots licensed by New York for these waters are authorized to provide pilotage services there. The action depends on whether the amendment means what it appears to say. For the reasons that follow, in the absence of regulatory interpretation suggesting a different interpretation, I hold that the statute should be interpreted in accordance with its plain meaning.

 Background

 The plaintiffs are pilots licensed by the State of New York to navigate foreign vessels and U.S. vessels under registry (i.e., engaged in foreign trade) in Long Island Sound. They are members of an organization known as Sound Pilots, which assigns pilots licensed by the State of New York to pilot such vessels through Long Island Sound.

 Plaintiffs offered pilotage services at various times between December 3, 1991 and January 21, 1992, for navigation of defendants' vessels the M/V Pocahontas, the M/V Potomac, and the M/V Pocantico through the Western Sound. *fn2" They contend that under New York Navigation Law § 89-b, as amended, the services of New York licensed pilots were required for the Western Sound.

 The defendant, Turbana Corporation, whose vessels were traversing the Sound to or from Connecticut Sound ports, refused plaintiffs' services, using instead Connecticut licensed pilots for this leg of their journey. Under New York law, refusal of required pilotage services, when offered, subjects the vessels and their owners and agents to the payment of pilotage fees. See N.Y. Nav. Law § 89-b(1) (McKinney's Supp. 1993) ("Whenever the services of such a pilot are refused, the master, owners or consignees shall pay pilotage as if one had been employed."). Because plaintiffs' pilotage services were refused on ten occasions, they seek to recover $ 8097.30, which is ten times the Long Island Sound statutory pilotage fee of $ 809.73 per movement.

 The defendants contend that the 1991 amendment of New York Navigation Law § 89-b did not alter the previously existing practice, under which either New York or Connecticut pilots piloted vessels between Connecticut ports and Execution Rocks at the westernmost end of the Sound. *fn3" Defendants argue that because their ships were being piloted to or from Connecticut ports through Long Island Sound by duly licensed Connecticut pilots, they were not required to employ New York licensed pilots in the Western Sound.

 The case was submitted to the Court for decision on a written trial record.

 Discussion

 Prior to November 27, 1991, Section 89-b(1) of the New York Navigation law provided, in pertinent part:

 
Every . . . vessel . . . transiting the New York state waters of Long Island Sound . . . east of Execution Rocks or Sands Point, and any such vessels entering or departing from any port situated on the New York state waters of Long Island Sound . . . east of Execution Rocks or Sands Point, shall take a Long Island-Block Island Sound pilot licensed under the authority of this article or of the laws of any other state having concurrent jurisdiction over these waters.

 N.Y. Nav. Law § 89-b(1) (McKinney's 1989) (prior to 1991 amendment).

 It is undisputed that, in practice under that statute, vessels employed either a Connecticut or a New York licensed pilot to traverse the Sound, including its western end.

 As of November 27, 1991, however, the New York statute was amended to provide (in pertinent part):

 
Every . . . vessel . . . transiting the New York state waters of Long Island Sound . . . east of Execution Rocks or Sands Point . . . shall take a Long Island-Block Island Sound pilot licensed under the authority of this article. Every foreign vessel and every American vessel under register transiting the New York state waters of Long Island Sound . . . east of a line running southeasterly from the mouth of the Byram River at the New York-Connecticut boundary to Oak Neck Point on Long Island shall take a pilot licensed under the authority of this article or the laws of any other state having concurrent jurisdiction over these waters.

 N.Y. Nav. Law § 89-b. (McKinney's Supp. 1993). *fn4"

 This case presents two questions. First, does the amended statute limit pilotage in the Western Sound to pilots licensed by New York, excluding pilots licensed by Connecticut? ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.