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Battleship Iowa nearing its new home at Port of L.A.

May 30, 2012 |  7:17 am

The four-day journey of the battleship Iowa is nearing its end as the historic vessel arrived off the coast of San Pedro on Wednesday morning.

"IOWA is almost home!" The Pacific Battleship Center, a nonprofit organization that will operate an interactive naval museum aboard the ship, posted on its Facebook page.  

The Iowa is expected to anchor about 8 a.m. Wednesday three miles out from the San Pedro harbor. There, crews will scrub the ship's hull to remove any invasive species or contaminants before it is permanently anchored at Berth 87 on June 9.

PHOTOS: Battleship Iowa 1942-2012

For more than a decade the ship was docked in the Port of Richmond in San Francisco Bay. The vessel started its trek Saturday, passing under the Golden Gate Bridge as thousands of spectators gazed at the massive ship. 

Pacific Battleship Center is using a 7,200-horsepower tugboat called the Warrior to tow the ship down the coast.

The organization is expected to open a museum in July that "that honors and illustrates the positive contributions of this battleship and its crew at critical moments in American history."

BattleshipThe Iowa carried President Franklin Roosevelt across the Atlantic to the 1943 Tehran conference and fought in the Marshall Islands during World War II.

Film industry officials have strongly supported the move, noting Southern California has relatively few World War II-era ships, aside from the aircraft carrier Midway in San Diego and the smaller Lane Victory, a former U.S. merchant marine craft stationed at the Port of L.A. and frequently used for filming, most famously in James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster “Titanic.”

GRAPHIC: Iowa comes to Los Angeles

Even before the Iowa left San Francisco Bay for its new home in San Pedro, location managers from such TV shows as “NCIS” and “CSI” have been calling about booking the ship for filming, said Damian Jones, a consultant with the Pacific Battleship Center.

“We’ve been contacted by a number of shows that want to be able to film on the ship once it gets down here, so we think there is going to be great opportunity for filming -– both for big-budget films and lower-budget films and TV shows,” Jones said. “We’ve been telling people we’d love to work with you, but our first job is to get the ship down here.”


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Photo: A Coast Guard boat approaches the 79-year-old battleship USS Iowa off the Southern California coast Wednesday. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times