SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The ongoing discussion over the dredging of the Santa Barbara Harbor took a new turn Monday morning.
Harbor management says the dredge machine broke late Saturday night and won't be back up and running until Thursday at the earliest. That means the majority of large boats in the harbor are stuck and it's starting to impact business. The Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce also had to cancel the arrival of Wednesday's scheduled cruise ship. Those ships bring thousands of tourists and dollars to the city's economy.
Along with the effects on tourism, fisherman and whale-watching vessels are also at a loss. The Condor Express, a popular whale-watching boat, is having to turn customers away and cancel trips.
Dredging of the harbor entrance was suppose to begin Saturday, and it did for a short while until an electrical part broke and brought dredging to a halt.
The problem stems from a strong storm Santa Barbara had a few weeks ago and the lack of dredging that normally happens in the fall. Harbor management says most of the sand build up in the harbor should have been removed last fall, but a dispute over contracts between the Army Corp of Engineers and the contractors led to a delay.