Port sinks ‘Angelena’ yacht tour program

Port sinks 'Angelena' yacht tour program

LOS ANGELES – A 73-foot yacht will no longer be used for tours up and down the Port of Los Angeles, as the waterfront’s director pulled the plug on a program that cost more than $4 million in public money.

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka determined the Angelena II yacht tours was over budget and required too much of port staff’s time. Accordingly, he pulled the plug on the yacht program in October.

Phillip Sanfield, spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles, said Seroka had “no confidence” in Angelena II being a reliable vessel, adding more time and manpower was needed just to determine whether she was seaworthy for a United States Coast Guard test.

“There is no plan to bring the program back,” Sanfield said, adding port officials are investigating what do to with the yacht. Either the port sells the entire yacht to a buyer or pushes her parts onto the open market.

Sanfield said the program was “well-intended,” aiming to showcase emerging technology and demonstrate the port’s efforts in reducing emissions despite the harbor being one of the busiest commercial venues in the world. The investment of time and money was just not paying off, according to Sanfield.

“We tried and it didn’t work,” Sanfield said.

Angelena II is now in the port’s construction and maintenance division, with her future uncertain.

What is certain, however, is how much money was spent on the yacht tour program.

An estimated $4 million was invested into the program, with about 75 percent of that amount spent on personnel costs and staff time. Port officials reportedly spent another $571,000 of federal grant money on the project.

The yacht tour program aimed to highlight Angelena II as a model for other ports aiming to incorporate or expand green programs at their facilities. With the approval of the U.S. Coast Guard, the Port of Los Angeles installed a hybrid propulsion system into Angelena II in 2012. Port officials at the time said the yacht was the first harbor craft of its kind capable of reducing emissions and fuel usage by 95 percent.

Built in 1970, Angelena II operated on a pair of 350-horsepower engines. The port spent about $200,000 to replace the diesel engines with a hybrid propulsion system.

Angelena II, a 73-foot yacht, was purchased by port officials in 1988. Recently, port officials hoped the vessel serve as an example in educating civic leaders and the general public about “the role of ports and the need to provide funding for projects such as dredging, security, transportation infrastructure and terminal expansion.”

The port offered several hundred tours annually aboard Angelena II. According to port officials, more than 4,000 people boarded Angelena II in 2011 to participate in a 60- or 90-minute tour of one of the world’s busiest waterfronts.

Despite discontinuing ?Angelena II?, the Port of Los Angeles still offers boat tours on other vessels.

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