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Balboa ferry service halted after boat runs aground

July 22, 2009 |  6:47 pm

The historic Balboa Island ferry was out of service today after operators discovered a 2-foot hole in its hull late Tuesday night, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

The 57-foot ferry had no passengers on board when it ran aground about 11:30 p.m., but it was carrying an estimated 50 gallons of gasoline. The fuel was removed, and the Coast Guard said there had been no reports of pollution in the harbor.

The ferry has carried cars and passengers on the quarter-mile trip between Newport Beach's Balboa Island and Balboa peninsula since 1919.

Officials at Balboa Island Ferry, which operates the service, and South Coast Shipyard, where the ferry was taken for repairs, could not be reached for comment.

A Coast Guard spokeswoman said there were no reports of flooding aboard the ferry as a result of the hole. Coast Guard inspectors will investigate, she said.

-- Dana Parsons in Costa Mesa