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Battleship USS Iowa en route to new home in San Pedro

May 29, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The USS Iowa battleship that fought in World War II and the Korean War is making its way down the coast of California, heading to San Pedro.

The Iowa was being tugged south from the San Francisco Bay at about 6 mph en route to San Pedro, where it will become a museum as part of the Pacific Battleship Center.

"What we're really talking about is a memorial, we're talking about the men who served on this ship, the lives that were lost on this ship on behalf of freedom," said Scott Gray of the San Pedro Convention and Visitors Bureau.

On Tuesday night, the decommissioned ship was south of the Channel Islands. It was expect to arrive to the Port of Los Angeles at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

In recent years, the 45,000-ton ship, nicknamed "The Big Stick" because of its long, slender hull, was anchored with other mothballed ships in the San Francisco Bay. The 887-foot-long battleship helped escort tankers in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War.

The Coast Guard warned boaters that it was enforcing a 100-yard safety zone around the Iowa.

The ship will take up permanent residence at Berth 87, where a grand opening is set for July 7.

The Iowa museum plans to offer overnight stays and at least five tours, including tours focusing on life at sea, engineering and armor, and tours of the ship's weapons.

The nonprofit Pacifica Battleship Center raised about $9 million to move and restore the ship, including $3 million from the state of Iowa. The group took out another $5 million in loans and raised the rest through donations and pro bono work.

City News Service contributed to this report.


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