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Catalina ferry from Newport Harbor might suspend operations, citing state air laws

September 2, 2010 |  7:57 am

The Catalina Flyer, a popular 500-passenger catamaran that makes daily trips to Santa Catalina Island from the Balboa Pavilion, may halt operations for a few months to buy and install a new engine that complies with a state environmental law.

Bob Black, general manager for the tour boat company, said that unless he's able to find a catamaran to lease, he may suspend service to Avalon as early as Sept. 12.

"I'm not thrilled about having to do this, but it's something we've got to do," said Black, referring to the purchase of a pair of engines that will cost him nearly $1 million.

The boat ferries hundreds of passengers each day to Catalina Island then back to Newport Harbor.

With one-way trips taking about an hour and 15 minutes, the Catalina Flyer is the fastest commercial service from here to the island, according to its website.

Even though Black said the ship's engine is in fine shape and he doesn't believe it is polluting the waters, the state requires all commercial vessels to be equipped with new engines that reduce emissions in compliance with the Commercial Harbor Craft Regulation.

The purpose of the law, which was adopted Nov. 15, 2007, by the California Air Resources Board, is to reduce the amount of pollution caused by diesel engines on commercial harbor craft that operate within 24 nautical miles of the California coast.

Read the full Daily Pilot story here.

-- Tom Ragan, Times Community News

Photo credit: Don Leach / Times Community News