Los Angeles TimesSTATE & LOCAL

Wednesday, May 6, 1998

Community News File / San Pedro
Councilman Urges Rescue of Historic Ship Catalina

Councilman Rudy Svorinich Jr. introduced an emergency motion to the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday to instruct the Los Angeles Harbor Department to begin proceedings to rescue the historic ship Catalina, which is sinking in mud in Ensenada, Mexico.

The plan calls for the Harbor Department to request the Port of Ensenada's harbor master to declare the ship abandoned. Svorinich wants the ship to be turned over to the Port of Los Angeles and towed back to the port.

Once the ship has been moved, the Harbor District councilman said he would like to see it refurbished and turned into a floating museum near the Banning Landing Community Center, currently under construction in Wilmington. It is from that site that the Catalina departed to Avalon for more than 50 years before it was moved to San Pedro in the 1960s.

Formerly known as the Great White Steamer, the Catalina ferried more than 25 million people to Catalina Island until 1975. After a series of legal battles and failed business ventures, the 301-foot Catalina ended up in the Port of Ensenada, where it began sinking late last year.

"As a community we can not allow the SS Catalina to die the inglorious death of a foreign scrap yard," Svorinich said. "We must act to save and preserve her for future generations."

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