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Battleship Iowa to dock at Port of Los Angeles next week

May 31, 2012 | 10:05 am

Click for more photos of the Battleship Iowa

Divers have begun cleaning the hull of the battleship Iowa, preparing the decommissioned warship for its new role as a floating museum at the Port of Los Angeles.

The 887-foot-long ship has been anchored about three miles offshore after its four-day tow from the San Francisco Bay ended Wednesday morning. It is scheduled to be pulled into port on June 9 and open to the public at Berth 87 on July 7.

Built in 1940, the Iowa was known for its speed, big guns and heavy armor and was dubbed “The Battleship of Presidents” because it carried several commanders in chief, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, who traveled to Tehran in 1943 for a secret meeting with Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Chiang Kai-shek.

PHOTOS: Battleship Iowa 1942-2012

Besides its service in World War II and Korea, the Iowa is also known for a gun-turret explosion in April 1989 that killed 47 crew members off the coast of Puerto Rico.

The ship was decommissioned in 1994.

Described as a “floating city,” the Iowa has 3,000 compartments that include galleys, dental facilities and a machine shop, all of which will be open to visitors, according to the Pacific Battleship Center, the nonprofit that funded its trek from the Bay Area and its transformation as a museum.

GRAPHIC: Iowa comes to Los Angeles

While the ship’s hull is being cleaned of possible invasive species and contaminants, the U.S. Coast Guard has established a “safety zone” around it to keep other boats at least 100 yards away.

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-- Kim Christensen

Photo: The 79-year-old battleship Iowa is pulled through San Francisco Bay by the 7,200-horsepower oceangoing tug Warrior on Saturday. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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