NORWALK, Conn. – Guess who cruised into the city Saturday night?
The Island Belle, the Mississippi-style paddle wheel riverboat that left Norwalk after an unfortunate incident during Superstorm Sandy, apparently sailed up the Norwalk River sometime after dark and tied up parallel to Smith Street, near the Norwalk River Rowing Association headquarters in the upper harbor.
The boat remained docked there, lights out, after 2 a.m.
An anonymous tip called NancyOnNorwalk’s attention to the boat shortly after 11 p.m.
The Island Belle broke free from its mooring at the Veterans Park visitors dock as Sandy’s winds battered Norwalk on Oct. 29, 2012. The incident caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to the dock. The boat then drifted toward the Stroffolino Bridge before it changed course with the help of Norwalk first responders and ultimately came to rest on the opposite bank.
Boat owner Ken Hart had been ordered to remove the boat from the visitors dock months earlier, and was given a Sept. 7 deadline. The deadline came and went with no action. He was also told by Harbor Master Michael Griffin to move it from the visitors dock with the storm approaching, but he did not comply.
Last summer, the city filed suit against Hart’s company, Sound Charter Group LLC, seeking “more than $15,000” in damages resulting from Hart’s failure to comply with the order as well as the company’s alleged failure to pay several fees from May through October 2012, according to a story in The Hour.
No one was available early Sunday to explain the Island Belle’s presence in the Norwalk River.