At around 7 a.m., the Long Beach Fire Department’s marine division responded to a sinking riverboat near island White, one of the THUMS oil platforms about a mile from shore, marine safety chief Gonzalo Medina said.
The ship, the Newport Princess, is listed on the Newport Beach-based Electra Cruises website.
Electra did not answer multiple phone calls from the Post and the company’s voicemail was full.
Daniel Pinn, dock master at Al Larson Boat Shop in Long Beach, however, said Electra shuttered over a year ago so the owner could retire. The company’s assets are being sold off, including the Newport Princess, Pinn said.
The new owner of the riverboat, Pinn said, was having the ship moved to Marina Del Rey when it began to sink, at which point it was moored at island White. The new owner sought repairs at Al Larson but the shop is busy and often books a year in advance, according to Pinn.
Pinn said he doesn’t know the name of the boat’s new owner.
“The real questions is why Long Beach let them moor there for over a year,” Pinn said.
It was anchored at island White and no one was aboard when it went down.
The riverboat was marketed as a venue for events such as weddings and quinceañera, according to Electra’s website. According to the website U.S. Maritime Intelligence, the 50-ton ship was constructed in 1944 and has a capacity of 150 passengers.
The Post was able to identify the ship via lifejackets bearing the Newport Princess name that littered Junipero Beach near where it sank. Chairs also were strewn up and down the beach, having washed ashore from the wreck. Photos of past events aboard the vessel show identical chairs.
The owner is working with its insurance and a private company to try to raise the boat, Medina said. Because the sunk boat is not causing any environmental harm, Medina said that authorities are not attempting to extricate it.
It’s unclear what caused it to sink, “and we probably won’t know until it’s raised,” Medina said. Despite the city being hit with a storm on Tuesday, he noted that boats don’t typically sink due to rain.
No injuries were reported, Medina said.
This story has been updated with additional information about the boat and its ownership.