New Jersey state officials are investigating whether a private dockyard in the city of Ashby is one of several offshore marine sites that have become havens for pirates.
The owner of the dockyard, Svensons Boat Yard, is being investigated by the state for the alleged use of private contractors for illegal and unsanctioned activity.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is also looking into the dockyards activities.
State Sen. Joseph Vitale (R) said the department has been contacted by two residents who live in Ashby.
They said they were contacted by a woman in her 60s who told them that her son was at the docks with two other men on May 23, 2016, and was arrested.
The men were identified as Andrew Mollison and Ryan Jernigan, both of whom were arrested and charged with kidnapping, assault and criminal mischief, according to a statement from the department.
The state Department of Public Safety also is investigating the dock’s activities, according a statement.
The two men arrested were released on $5,000 bond, and a fourth man, who was not identified, was released on a $5 to $10,000 bail, according the statement.
Ashby police Sgt. Kevin Miller said the dock has been in use for about four years, and the city’s Board of Supervisors has recently approved its use.
The city council approved its plans last year.
But some residents are concerned about safety and its impact on the city.
“It has to be a public safety concern, and it’s going to have a negative impact on our community,” said Ashby resident and Ashby mayor Ron Fournier.
Ashley is located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of New York City.
The boatyard is one reason the city is known as the most dangerous in the world.
It’s one of just six dockyards in the United States, according with the New York Times.
The city has been trying to build a dock since 2007, but its plans were scuttled when the Navy decided to close the port and move to the U.S. Navy base in Norfolk, Virginia.