Mayor plans to look into brawl on Island Belle that spilled onto Norwalk dock

An early Sunday brawl aboard the Island Belle spilled out onto the Norwalk dock and parking lot.
An early Sunday brawl aboard the Island Belle spilled out onto the Norwalk dock and parking lot.

NORWALK, Conn. – The Island Belle is no longer based in Norwalk, but the party boat is still making headlines here.

The Mississippi River-style sternwheeler returned to the Visitors Dock from a party cruise at 4 a.m. Sunday with a brawl in progress, according to the Norwalk Police. Published reports said there were some injuries, and that the brawl continued off the boat when it docked in Norwalk, bringing all on-duty Norwalk Police to the scene.

Mayor Harry Rilling, who spent 41 years with the Norwalk Police, the last 17 as chief, said he wants more details on just what went on.

“I will be looking into this incident,” he said in a Sunday email. “There were some extremely disturbing and very dangerous things that occurred on this cruise. I am also concerned it took the entire on-duty contingent of police officers to respond.”

The Island Belle has been surrounded by controversy since before Superstorm Sandy, when complaints about the boat sticking into the channel from its mooring at the Visitors Dock were ignored. As Sandy bore down on Norwalk, city officials, acting on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers information, ordered Sound Charter owner Ken Hart to move the boat away from the dock, which was not strong enough to hold such a large vessel, they said. Hart did not move the boat. When the city attempted to reposition it, it broke loose and drifted across the Norwalk River, but not before causing thousands of dollars in damage to the dock.

Since then, the city and Hart have been enmeshed in a lawsuit. Hart wanted to re-establish his base of operations in Norwalk, but could not find a location and was instead approved to sign a contract at Playland Pier in Rye, N.Y. It is not known if the Island Belle has relocated there.


15 responses to “Mayor plans to look into brawl on Island Belle that spilled onto Norwalk dock”

  1. EveT

    Who authorized the boat to operate this late-night cruise from Norwalk?

  2. Just curious

    It’s easier to ignore the rules put in place when everyone is sleeping! LOL

  3. Taxpayer Fatigue

    The Hour articled said that there was still a brawl going on in the parking lot once the Belle docked involving 300 people and the Norwalk Police arrested no one? Right behind the BOE, the second most expensive department we taxpayers fund is the police force. What are we paying for?

  4. Oldtimer

    Sounds like the Island Belle was a floating after-hours club with not enough control over the alcohol, marihuana, or the few people who started a brawl. The lawsuits will probably put Hart’s company into bankruptcy. Does he have a liquor permit ? Does it allow serving after-hours ? Did this cruise originate out of Vet’s park ? Does the City have a copy of his current insurance certificate ?

  5. One and Done.

    Just like Amanda Brown, there will be no real statement or purpose. Leading from behind at his best.

  6. Just curious

    Google the event and it shows they were pre selling bottles and giving out complimentary shots once you have boarded the boat.If you go on a reguar cruise you can bring alcohol onto the cruise ships but it is immediately taken and held by the cruise line until you disembark.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @Just Curious

      I used to review cruises and ships for several major print and online outlets. What you say is true, but it is also true that, once on board cruise ships, you can buy all the booze you want. Some lines push it harder than others — it is a major revenue producer. That’s why some lines seem to have more people go overboard than others. Cruise ships confiscate the booze you carry on so you are forced to buy onboard what you drink onboard, and deliver it to your cabin the night before disembarkation after the ship’s bars close.

  7. Joe Randall

    Too funny, SCG loves being in the news!!!

  8. Retired from the job

    Not that fatigued taxpayer would know anything about police work, but sometimes when dealing with a crowd that large, an arrest may escalate the situation and clearing the scene as soon as possible is the best course of action.

  9. Just curious

    I know what you are saying Mark as I have been on several cruises myself. The difference is and I’ve seen it myself, just like a neighborhood bar a responsible bartender.will cut someone off.you are right that it is a major revenue source and some cruise lines do push it more than others.what seemed insinuated was.you can pre buy your bottles.for this cruise.nowhere did it say that it would be held until the end of the trip.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @ Just curious

      You are correct. According to the event Facebook page, which displayed a poster — and some individual post — pre-boarding bottle were being pushed.

  10. Just curious

    If you want a good laugh read the article with the owner’s response on the hour website

  11. Taxpayer Fatigue

    The police didn’t even get out of their cars?

  12. peter parker

    That’s about all the Mayor will do, look into it and nothing more. The do nothing Mayor is on his game! Lots of talk and no action.

  13. Joe Randall

    Would you let your children on the boat July 4th? Lol BRING YOUR BODY ARMOUR!

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