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Retired Battleship Will Be Floating Museum at Port of L.A.

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The Los Angeles Harbor Commission voted unanimously today to bring the USS Iowa to the Port of Los Angeles where it will permanently reside as a new floating maritime museum. It will open July 7.

The ship will depart from the Port of Richmond, Calif. where it is currently located, on May 20 for a four-day tow to its new home in San Pedro at Berth 87.

Guests will be able to book overnight stays, and the ship museum will offer at least five tours highlighting the battleship's weapons, engineering, and life at sea.

"Los Angeles is thrilled to welcome a national treasure that has served our nation so faithfully for so long,'' Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement. "It is with great pride that our city, our port and our community say 'Welcome Home' to the USS Iowa."

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USS Iowa is 887-feet long and nicknamed the "Big Stick." It was used in World War II and carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his top military advisors to the Tehran Conference. Later it was part of the Pacific Fleet, and it was at the battle of Okinawa.

In 1989, 47 sailors were killed in an explosion during a training mission, and the ship was decommissioned in 1990.

The Pacifica Battleship Center, a non-profit group, was responsible for the relocation. It raised about $9 million to move and restore the ship, including $3 million from the state of Iowa, reports City News Service. The group took out another $5 million in loans and raised the rest through donations.

In addition to new tourists, the attraction also brings in new jobs. Employment opportunities at the USS Iowa are already posted on its website.