Long Island Sound Pilots Inch Closer to Long-Awaited Rate Increase

According to MarEx sources in the Constitution State, the public comment period on the long-awaited rate increase for Long Island Sound MOA pilots is now closed. There were no adverse comments on the proposal, other than a suggestion from the Connecticut Pilot Commission (CPC) that the maximum number of pilotage units be reduced from 600 to 500 to conform to the rate increase passed by the New York legislature over the summer. Connecticut's Department of Transportation (CDOT) adopted that suggestion in its final proposed rate increase. On November 26, after receiving the Attorney General’s approval, the CDOT submitted the proposed rate increase to the Legislative Regulation Review Committee. That group is expected to act in January and this could potentially be the last step in implementing a rate increase which local pilots have awaited for almost a quarter century.

In other business before the Pilot Commission, a recommendation to extend the temporary fuel surcharge was forwarded to the Connecticut Commissioner of Transportation. CDOT has approved the recommendation, which is now in a public comment period. Unofficially, there is every reason to expect that the fuel surcharge will be continued until July 31, 2008. Moreover, the Pilot Commission has been considering recommending a permanent fuel surcharge, which would be based on a formula associated with some sort of a variable fuel cost index. That effort is still very much a work in progress.

The establishment of a heavy weather pilot station in Block Island Sound for vessels transiting Montauk Channel was also an important item for discussion at the last CPC meeting. Because of concerns about pilot safety, the Pilot Commission recommended that CDOT establish an alternate station for use when weather precludes boarding at Montauk Point. CDOT is still studying the recommendation and the CPC has had some discussions with the New York Board about jointly establishing a heavy weather station and the circumstances under which it might be used. It is hoped that this issue will be moved along early in 2008.

MarEx readers can read the CPC’s letter to the Connecticut Department of Transport regarding the rate increase by clicking HERE. MarEx readers can also read the CPC’s letter to the Connecticut Department of Transportation regarding the fuel surcharge recommendation by clicking HERE.